Straightening a Leaning Tree: Before & After
Planting trees is one of the most important things we can do in an urban environment to help make our outdoor (and indoor) spaces more enjoyable. Especially here in Texas, trees provide much needed shade to help keep our homes and office buildings cool and make outdoor spaces bearable. In order to get the most shade as quickly as possible, most of us like to start out by planting as large of a specimen as we can manage. But when you’re planting larger trees, there are some things that, if not done properly, can result in your tree developing a “lean” and potentially toppling over.
No one plants a tree with the intention of it dying...and no one wants to have to start over with a brand new tree after spending years trying to get the first tree established. So it’s always best to be sure your new tree is planted properly the first time to give it the best chance of success.
We often assist with tree care at Southern Methodist University. We noticed one of their younger easement trees was growing a little off balance. You might think that there is not much you can do about a leaning tree; but we have special techniques that can be used to get the tree growing back in the right direction.
Why does a tree lean?
Poor planting is usually the cause of a leaning tree. Also, if a tree is planted in a windy corridor or windy side of the house, it might be best to stake the tree the first year until it roots itself into the ground. Young trees can sometimes be pushed over, right out of the ground, by strong steady winds.
To straighten a leaning tree, we dig up part of the root ball, making sure to limit any root damage, then we replant it at the correct angle. Once replanted, we stabilize it using a special brace. Over time this tree will be able to grow a straight trunk. Once the tree is stabilized, we add the right amount of mulch, root stimulator and thoroughly water.
Sometimes very large established trees can develop a lean due to root structure damage, construction or soil heaving.
While a large leaning tree is a more precarious situation, we do have
methods for helping to save and correct the growth habit of large
Posted: December 2, 2015