Begin removing a tree stake by getting rid of the string or any material that secures the tree trunk to the tree stake. Remove each stake using a hammer, hitting the stake on both sides until it is loose enough to be pulled from the ground. Pull the stake out of the ground and fill the hole with loose soil.
Tree stakes are used to support younger trees until they reach a height where they can stand on their own. Before removing tree stakes, judge first whether it is the right time to do so. If the tree is at least 6 feet high and has a circumference of at least 2 inches, it is a good time to remove the existing supports and let the tree grow more freely. If any stakes are left after it has reached the recommended size and time frame, it could be detrimental to the tree, as it is less likely to develop a strong trunk.
Trees like the African sumac, heritage oak and Chilean mesquite often require staking when young. However, sturdier and shorter species like pines typically do not require staking. When staking trees, avoid staking too high, too tight or too long.