This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
I have now in my possession flower stakes which have been in constant use for over nine years, and their points are yet perfectly sound and good. I take common coal tar and bring it to the boiling point in a kettle some ten to twelve inches deep; I then place the lower part of the stake in the boiling tar, immersing it as deeply as the pot will allow. After they have remained therein about ten minutes, I take them out, allow the surplus tar to drain off, and roll the tarred portion in clean sharp sand, covering every part of the tar. After they have become perfectly dry, I give them another coat of tar, completely covering the sanded part. Then, after being thoroughly dried, they will last for years. Some of them I have painted three times with lead and oil paints on the upper part, and they are ready for the fourth, while the lower portion is still sound and good. To treat a lot of stakes in this manner costs but little and pays well, as it saves a great deal of future labor and annoyance. - The Technologist.