The Literal Commandment
You shall not plant for yourself an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of the LORD your God, which you shall make for yourself. (Deuteronomy 16:21)
The literal commandment of this verse tells us that we should not plant an Asherah [pole] of any kind of tree beside the altar of the LORD our G-d. Although the traditional phrasing of this commandment indicates "in the temple" this commandment applied even prior to the Temple during the days of the tabernacle as the Israelites travelled through the wilderness and during their travels into the Promised Land.