Return to the Perennials Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

Posted by arbo_retum z5 ,WinchstrMA (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 18, 08 at 1:57

Just in case any of you are not familiar with these stakes, I thought I'd post this. I did an extensive web search today to see if I could find any cheaper source than Walt Nicke's, but I cannot. When I compared an order with Nicke v.s. an order from Gardener's Supply, Nicke had much lower shipping charges for the quantities I wanted.So I ordered ALOT of the 4'and 3', with a lesser number of 2' ones. I am so sick of running out of these invaluable tools( which always happens this time of year [what with the prevalent flopping everywhere.])
While I did not purchase from Gardener's Supply, I DID submit a review of the Y stakes for their Reviews section. This pretty much explains my love of these stakes:
best,
Mindy

Here at The Cotton-Arbo retum in Winchester, Ma., these Y stakes are as important as our shovels and pruners. This is particularly true in the fall,when tall perennials and ornamental grasses(both short and tall) get top heavy, and when sedums splay and so many perennials get 'blousy'(a great British expression.)We also use them for shrubs and small trees, to keep branches from shading out nearby plants, or from fountaining out over a pathway.For our vines, particularly honeysuckle and clematis,we use Y stakes to guide baby vines upward and onto a larger support, be that a fence, tree, arbor or obelisk. With our many ornamental grasses, we begin staking them in late June with the shorter 2 ' or 3' Y stakes, and then we add the tallest Y stakes as the grasses ascend.Because we leave our grasses up for the winter, we leave the Y stakes in place and remove them the following spring when we cut back the grasses to the ground.The stakes weather beautifully, with none of the colored coating chipping off. In fact, except for scratches or dirt, they never look weathered.

We find the opened Y stakes easiest to store, not in a canister/barrel, but in the ground, in an out of the way garden corner or behind a gate.

Our only wish for them to change would be for them to be able to penetrate rock (we are in New England, after all!) but we think that is a bit of an unreasonable wish on our part!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Y stakes through Walter Nicke Co.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

Thanks arbo return, I am going to look into those!


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

I'm tempted as well. I've been on the lookout for a good stake, and thought I'd never find one. I might just be willing to try.


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

How strong are the upright main wires on these? How thick?

I bought a lot of plant supports earlier this year, that have a perpendicular coil at the end to slip a stem inside. I bought these mostly for lilies and dahlias but really needed them for a lot of things. (There are some shown on the same page as the Y stakes, just to the right). I thought I could save myself the trouble of twist-tying the stems to a bamboo stake. But I found out right away that the wire wasnt thick enough; that the weight of most lilies (and most other things) would easily bend the wire over. Result being that I still need stakes.


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

linnea, these are very strong. in the case of very tall lilies or grasses(for example) it's not the weight of the plant but the limited height of the stake that might not give perfect support, because you have to push the stakes into the ground 6+ " for heavier plants, which makes the stake's ultimate height not always enough.
best,
mindy


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

My experience is the same as Mindy's. The tallest Y stake is not tall enough to support a 5-6 foot heavy headed lily. I use 6 foot tall bamboo or plastic bamboo stakes and tie each stem separately with a loop so the lilium has some natural movement. It is work, but I only have about 6 that really need this much support: Casa Blanca and Black Beauty come to mind. I haven't found a satisfactory substitute for this old fashioned method.

BTW, those long, long plastic stakes have warped over time. Not cheap, bummer.


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

I've been considering these for quite a while, but always hesitated because they are so expensive, and I wasn't sure how well they worked. So your review is much appreciated Mindy!

However, like others, I still have some reservarions regarding the height issue. Mindy, do you find that the tallest support is really tall enough? And how far do you find yourself pushing them in the ground?

:)
Dee


 o
diggerdee

dee, i just ordered another 20 of the tall ones(adding to the 20 we already depend on). Enough said!!
mindy


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

LOL! Thanks Mindy!

:)
Dee


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

OMG, are they Expensive!!!!
I can buy a lot of bamboo stakes and green wire for what those nice Y-Stakes cost!!


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

I use tomato cages for most of my perennial staking- slightly noticeable for couple of weeks when placed but since plants grow so fast- couple of weeks it is all it takes to make it disappear. Inexpensive too.


 o
lindalena,

i am a big fan of tomato cages but i can't imagine using them in the MANY places that I use the Y stakes. For our 120 peonies ,we cut down tomato cages to one or two tiers and over the top, we crimp a piece of wire fencing with a grid of 2"squares.
For some clematis, we turn upside down a 3 tier tomato cage, and use garden staples to stabilize the bottom rung.
the clematis growing up this soon hides the wire- which will fortunately rust in time.

i can't imagine tomato cages being strong enough to support taller things- grasses, rudbeckia herbstsonne, helenium, helianthus, eupatorium gateway, macleaya..... Do you use tomato cages for these? You certainly wouldn't use them for wayward or encroaching tree and shrub branches.and you also can't use them for plants that flop unexpectedly(too awkward to try and run a mature plant through a cage, yes? )or for single stem plants- like lilies or alliums.

do tell us what plants you use your tomato cages for.i've heard there are now on the market some green coated tomato cages; have you tried those?
thanks much,
Mindy


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

Those Y stakes look interesting, I particularly like the fact that you can bend the V part into different shapes.

I have at least 30 of those green-coated "single stem supports" that Linnea is talking about - the ones with the loop at the top. I've got 3 sizes, 18", 24", and 36". Bought them at the local Mahoneys a few years back and they were a lot cheaper than Walter Nicke, no more than a couple bucks each. Those work great for supporting the main stem on a lot of plants, but not huge ones.

I also use peony rings for floppy medium-sized perennials (besides just the peonies that is). Used 6 foot redwood stakes for the 11-foot Mammoth Sunflowers, once the heads got heavy they started to lean over. I also like to cut stakes from the endless brush my overgrown lot generates. Lilacs, Autumn Olive, and Honeysuckle stalks can make particularly nice stakes.


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

Lee Valley also has these stakes, I grow a lot of Michaelmas Daisies, staking has always been a pain, tried different things but these look like they just might do the trick. Today I ordered both a package of the shorter and the taller ones to try, while I was at it I also ordered their kangaroo apron, great when deadheading, your bucket is always with you :o). If these stakes work you've solved a biggie for me and, if they do I'll be ordering more in the spring. Thanks for the heads up on this product.
Annette


 o
aftermidnight

maybe i misunderstood you, but i just spoke w/ cust serv at lee valley because i couldn't find the English Y Stakes on their website. i was told they do not carry them. plse clarify!
mindy


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

Mindy, after seeing your Y stakes I went looking at Lee Valley supports and came up with what I thought were the same thing although they are called something different. They only come in two lengths in packs of three. How different are they from yours? In any case I think they are really going to work for me, so thanks for sending me on my search :o).
Annette

Here is a link that might be useful: Multi-purpose stakes


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

these are the ones. looks like they may be the same, but nicke offers taller size.( i guess the cust serv guy didn't grok the Y stake reference.)
anyway, i'm relieved they look the same.
best,
mindy

Y-Stakes

"They bend so your plants don't have to."
Y-Stake plant supports are based on a simple but unique concept... their arms bend to fit the individual staking needs of just about any leaning or falling plant. Made from sturdy brown-coated aluminum shafts and topped with galvanized wire arms that are covered with dark green PVC, Y-Stake arms can be bent repeatedly into customized shapes for years of convenient use. They are very unobtrusive and provide the most natural look possible for any plant requiring staking. Y-Stakes are economical as many types of plant will require only a single stake. Available in four sizes:

4ft Y-Stake (4ft shaft, 14in arms)
5 for $37.00 10 for $68.00

3ft Y-Stake (3ft shaft, 14in arms)
5 for $34.00 10 for $62.00

2ft Y-Stake (2ft shaft, 12in arms)
5 for $29.00 10 for $52.00 I USE THESE FOR SEDUM AUTUMN JOY

1ft Y-Stake (1ft shaft, 9in arms)
5 for $23.00 10 for $42.00 I CAN'T IMAGINE ANYONE USING THESE. BY THE TIME YOU PUSH THEM A FEW INCHES INTO THE GROUND, THERE'S NOTHING LEFT!

Here is a link that might be useful: Walt Nicke's Garden Talk website for Y stakes


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

Mindy, yes they do look the same. My DH thinks he might be able to make up something similar he's pretty inventive. When the ones I ordered get here and we have a good look at how they're put together, he just might come up with something. I can see sooooo many uses for this kind of stake in the garden. I love the arms are adjustable.
Annette


 o
Replicating Y Stakes

annette,
hope you'll post what he comes up with. i can't imagine doing anything comparable w/o welding.The biggest challenge to replication would be the brown coated strong hollow leightweight POINTED shaft.
best,
mindy


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

They are very nice! But I'm tight, I use a stick. Looks natural and blends well.


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

I'll chime in with my review of them. LOVE EM!

I've been using them for several years in all sizes. I love that the brown center "stem" is less visible than typical green circle stakes with 3 or 4 legs. It makes these more versatile for plants whose habit doesn't lend itself to the grow thru type circles. The brown seems to blend in better than the green for some reason.

Also I love the little ones for keeping The Fairy ground cover roses up just a little to keep them off the ground. (yeah, yeah, I know they're *ground*covers, but I still like them up a little).


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

I use the wire tomato cages. They can easily be cut where they are welded to form the circle and then spread open. I will usually straighten them out and keep it curved in on the ends. Pretty much like Y-stakes except I have 3 prongs to push into the ground. This works well for the larger clumps. If I want really tall supports I keep the cage as one piece but cut along the sides to spread open. I have cut the cage to make 3 smaller supports from the same cage. I have used the sames ones for many years now and they are a lot cheaper.


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

Mindy, thinking about this over lunch, it went through my mind we've got rebar and some galvanized wire so although not pretty this is what we came up with. These were thrown together in a hurry, put the rebar in a vice, wrap the wire around twice using the length of wire needed. The ends you can loop so they can be hooked together or left undone. The wire doesn't slip down because of the ridges in the rebar. I tried one of these out in the garden, works like a hot .... I'm quite sure the wire and the rebar will be hidden in amongst the foliage so I'm not worried about the color. Because it's rebar it can be pounded into the ground.

I have no idea if the rebar is a cheaper way to go but I think we'll be making a lot of these. No shipping charges :o).
Annette


 o
mollydog and annette

mollydog,
why you hot ticket you! i do like your idea of cutting a cage and flattening it out but leaving a curve at the ends/sides. The tomato cage wire is pretty flimsy, so plse.tell us how you flatten it neatly!I can imagine using this smart technique for clumps of lighter weight plants- platycodon, monarda,veronicastrum; but i cannot see it working for the 5-6'H heavy clumps of miscanthus or rudbeckia herbstsonne etc.(though perhaps i could combine your opened up tomato cage w/4' rebar enforcements Plse do tell us what plants are successfully staked this way in your garden.
thanks and congrats ,
mindy

annette,
this looks super!! at first i was going to say that i didn't think it would work as well as Y stakes because the stakes' arms can extend out wide and just slightly hug the sides of the grass w/o the affect of corsetting which happens when you have a ROUND space inside the staking. but it appears that your very thick gauge wire can be bent into an oval, so that's excellent. i would not want to put the tall rebar in FRONT of the clump, but rather, behind, so camouflage success would hinge on the looped ends not being visible.... Were they hidden when you tried it? And is the wire, unsupported on the non-rebar side, really strong enough to hold up a HEAVY thick 5-6' clump of miscanthus?
th again,
mindy


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

I use my tomato cages on everything...asters, snakeroot, mums, everything! I've even used it on heliopsis.But you are right, it would not work on tall grasses. So I keep some of the cages full size and just cut the sides to open. The wires bend easily by hand. I have cut some of the cages into two separate parts, the lower ring and then the upper ring. That gives small and medium sizes as well. The good thing is you can't see them. The three prongs makes the cage very stable.


 o
Forgot

Forgot, while the cage wire can be easily bent by hand to straighten out, it remains very stable after the prongs are pushed into the ground.


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

Mindy, with the rebar behind the plant it will pretty well be hidden, as for the wire if these are put into use when the plants are putting on growth the wire should be hidden amongst the foliage. I tried it out on a poor neglected Michaelmas daisy in an overgrown holding bed that had flopped in every direction. Although you can see the wire on this plant it shows how well it's going to work for me. For heavier plants maybe use heavier wire.

Annette


 o
annette and mollydog

i really think you both should send in your rebar and cut tomato cage staking tips to Fine Gardening magazine's Tips. you can get paid and rcve some valuable gdng things (for Best Tip).After seeing so many clever ideas over the years, I really do think your tips are worthy of submission.
Here's the address to send your tip.

'fg@taunton.com'

I sent them a submission last week myself but don't know if they'll like it.Prompted by diggerdee's needling me (!) about how to deal w Y stakes and tall grasses, I developed a new technique for staking them just last weekend.I drive a piece of rebar just behind the grass and a Y stake in front of the grass,with its arms extended and crimped at their ends, just enough to hug the grasses' sides.I then tie twine to the loops at the ends of the Y stakes' arms and then tie together those twine pieces behind the rebar.

best,
Mindy


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

Mindy,

I just might give it a try...one of my favorite magazines. I have all the editions except the very first copy :o( I will have to take some photos to help explain the whole procedure. I am posting a link so you can see how many flowers I actually have to support. I decided to give BHG contest a try.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Gardens


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

Mindy...I just looked at the pictures of your arbo. Wow! You are truly a gifted artist of plants and an inspiration to all gardeners. I am definitely putting you on my destination list for next year.


 o
molly yourphotos

phooey, that link doesn't get me to photos, just a home page for bhg. do send another link but try it first to make sure it works.

will you be coming from pa.? are you near chanticleer(genuflect, genuflect)?
best,
mindy


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

Hmmm...the link worked when I tried it before. Give this one a try. There should be a link to "view more galleries." You are right, I am from PA, but southcentral...close enough to Longwood and Winterthur.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Gardens


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

Mindy and Mollydog, just had a peek at your beautiful gardens, thanks for the treat.

Mindy, another thought on the rebar stakes if one knows the plant is going to be heavy I guess one could put another one or two wires on at different heights. I still think the Y Stakes are a good thing, especially if they are going to be visible or in the front of borders like in your beautiful garden but for things at the back of a border or places where seeing parts of them isn't important they just might do the job.

Annette


 o
When you submit to Fine Gardening Tips

annette-WHEN you send in to Fine Gdng Tips(you ARE going to share this excellent tip w/ other gardeners, AREN'T you??!!), make sure you design the rebar stake with wire hoops at 2 different levels(soooo smart of you!!!) because that does make the design so much better, as we find that big grasses typically need support at the 3'H stake stage, on their way to support at their full height . brilliant!

just remember, the object of submitting to the Fine Gdng Tips doesn't have to have anything to do with rewards or ego; it really, in the end, is about getting out good ideas to the gardening community at large (so many of whom have never heard about GW.)

best,
mindy


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

Mindy, here's another thought....I thought clips DH thought hose clamps. Slip these on and tighten on the rebar, make the loop in the wire a little looser so these can also be slipped on, being a little looser the whole arm is moveable but won't drop below the clamp. Put two or more arms on and they can be moved in different directions. More clamps and more arms added as needed. Ohhhh, the possibilities.

How about you sending the tip in to FG do it with my blessing, it's just not my thing :o). I come up with crazy ideas at times like how to make a temporary support to train my golden hops up a cherry tree, crazy glue and twine LOL.

Now back out to my weed patch,
Annette


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

annette, i will send in your idea but only under your name. so i will need your address etc.
so email me the info at cottonarboretum@comcast.net

best,
mindy

plse explain why the clamps? to ensure that the wire won't slip down?necessary? does your DH have an idea of the gauge of the super strong wire needed to hold up the grasses?


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

Mindy, The clamps are for a totally different concept they are to stop the the wire from slipping down the rebar as in this case the wire is not pulled up snug around the rebar, the arms for want of a better name can be swung around to the side or the back of the stake. In other words you can manipulate which way you want to position the wire, front, back, or side without moving the stake. As to the strength of the wire that's going to be trial and error DH isn't a gardener and I haven't got a clue. I'll email you a little later :o)
Annette


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

you can find Y stakes in all sizes and availability here: http://www.veggiecage.com

These are the best supports I've ever used for perennials. I've been using them for 20 years and am just now in need of re stocking my supply.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.veggiecage.com/category-s/44.htm


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

looks to me like Walter Nicke Y Stakes are cheaper than these; plus they can be bought by the dozen.


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

yeah but they are not available in all the sizes when I checked and this site I found has all of them! :)


 o
RE: Y Stakes: Can't live without them!

I can buy a lot of Velcro tape for the price of these supports. I use it with the single stem supports and bamboo poles.

I thread it through the single stem loop and around the plant and stick the ends together. They hold back a surprising amount of weight and are soft on the plants. With bamboo poles I partly put a staple in and run my tape through the staple. Both poles and the tape are reusable. I have used the same tape for 4 years in a row. In the fall I gather it up all and store in a plastic container

At 3 or 4 dollars a roll I can do all my tyingup and still have plenty on the roll.
http://www.homedepot.com/p/45-ft-Plant-Tie-91384/202261952


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Perennials Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here