- How To Straighten A Crooked Or Leaning Tree
- Know when to stake your tree
- How do you properly stake a tree?
- How do you straighten a crooked tree?
- How To Correct A Leaning Tree With Support
- Guiding a tree
- Staking a tree for support
- How to Straighten a Leaning Tree
- So, How to Straighten a Leaning Tree
- Transplanting your tree to another location
- Don’t remove the stakes too early
- Reconsider your stake placement
- Help! My Christmas Tree is Leaning!
- Keep a Christmas Tree from Falling
- How To Stabilize a Christmas Tree Topper
- Stake Them
- Transplant Them
- How can I straighten this crooked tree?
How To Straighten A Crooked Or Leaning Tree
Bob Ross once said “trees don’t grow even, they don’t grow straight. Just however it makes them happy.” Unfortunately for many gardeners and homeowners, a crooked tree won’t make them particularly happy.
A crooked tree can be a danger to you, your property, and to the tree itself. Things like high winds, heavy wet snow, and ice storms can do a lot of damage and even potentially kill your tree! Growing a straight, even tree really is the best for you and the tree alike. Let’s explore some of the ways to help your trees grow tall and healthy.
Know when to stake your tree
A healthy, young tree doesn’t need to be staked up in order to grow straight. Many arborists encourage tree planters not to stake their trees. But if the root ball of a tree is small relative to its size, you may want to stake it to hold it up while it takes root! This will help prevent the tree from leaning or, even worse, falling over.
How do you properly stake a tree?
If you do stake your tree to help it stay put, only stake it for one growing season. The following year, the stakes should be removed. Stakes should be at least five feet long. Always use stakes made out of strong wood or metal. If your stake is too weak to stay up for a growing season, it could do more harm than good.
Be sure not to drive your stakes into the ground too close to the base of the tree. Doing so could damage the roots. Instead, hammer your stakes near the edge of the planting hole. Use rope or wire to attach the trunk of the tree to the stakes.
How do you straighten a crooked tree?
It’s definitely tragic when your newly planted tree finds itself falling over. Sadly, a tree can’t always be saved if it’s been uprooted. The tree must still have at least half of its root system in the ground. The roots that are exposed cannot be too damaged.
The uprooted portion of the roots of the tree will need to be placed back at ground level. Remove as much soil from around the uprooted portion of the tree as you can. Then gently lift and straighten the tree back out. Pack the soil back in and use wires and stakes to anchor the tree in place while it recovers and regrows its root system.
If you have a mature tree that has completely fallen over and is laying on the ground, it simply won’t survive. It would be best, and safest, to have the tree removed and plant a new one in its place.
How To Correct A Leaning Tree With Support
A few weeks after acquiring our allotment back in 2011, we planted four apple trees with the purpose of producing cider. Two of the trees (Fair Maid of Devon and Harry Masters Jersey) have grown up to become magnificent, apple-bearing specimens from which we have made many a pint of dangerously strong booze. One of the weedier trees (Brown’s Apple) after a year of poor performance, mysteriously snapped at the base one night* and has since been consumed by Rich’s wood burning stove.
Our other original tree – the Kingston Black – has unfortunately suffered from the gusts of winds that rip through our exposed allotment site and has subsequently developed an unfortunate lean. When planting a tree, there are a couple of different schools of thought when it comes to staking and tree support. Some say that staking provides the tree with support until its anchor roots develop. Others claim that the to-and-fro motion of a free swaying, unstaked tree will strengthen the roots, leading to a sturdy tree. We went for the tough love approach, forgoing the stake because a) we were in a rush to plant the trees and b) we forgot to buy stakes. This technique worked well for our other apple trees we planted, but the windy conditions up at the plot proved a bit too much for our beloved Kingston Black.
Before the next stormy spell knocks it flat, we have attempted to make amends for our neglectfulness and offered up maximum tree support by both staking and guiding. Here are our suggestions for how to do both:
Guiding a tree
First off, we’re going to guide rope the tree. Guiding is the easiest, most secure way to offer support to trees that are already established – just the ticket then for our wonky tree. Staking alone might be enough to rectify the problem, but we are going for a ‘belt and braces’ approach.
- Choose your rope. You want to use something at least 4mm thick that doesn’t stretch under duress. Cut a 30cm length of old hose and thread your guide rope through the middle. (Or slice open the side of the pipe and retro-fit it if you forget. Like us) This will prevent the rope biting into the tree and damaging the bark.
- Gently raise up your tree (this is easier with two people, so enlist help from a pal) to a point where the trunk is as vertical as you dare. A cracking, splitting sound at this point is bad news…
- Wrap your rope around the trunk and fix it to the ground with a sturdy peg. You’ll want to peg it out at a distance of at least four foot from the base of the trunk for maximum stability. Be aware of the trip risk you are creating, so try to use a bright coloured guide rope to head off any potential accidents.
Staking a tree for support
There are various methods of staking a tree, but because we want to avoid damaging the established roots, we’ll be using the angled stake method.
- Inspect the stake for knots and cracks before purchase. Any faults will be magnified when you hammer it into the ground, especially if the earth is frozen or rocky.
- Angle your stake at 45 degrees, with the blunt end pointing into the lean. Upright stakes are usually positioned between the tree and the most likely direction of the wind, to prevent the tree rubbing up against the stake. Because our tree is leaning at such an acute angle, we want the stake to be pushing the tree back, like a rugby prop forward leaning into a scrum (or a drunk leaning on a lamp post)
- Secure the tree to the stake with a soft, rubber tree tie. Remember that ties need to be loose enough to allow for growth, so make sure you go for one that you can adjust easily.
We plan to leave the stake and guide in for at least one growing season, by which time we expect the roots to have spread sufficiently to enable the tree to stand upright without our woody/ropey additions and be as magnificent as the others!
Have you ever tried supporting a tree in this way before? Or do you have your own suggestions for making sure a tree is sturdy and straight? We’d love to hear your ideas – leave a comment below.
* Was it a rampaging badger? A jealous allotment neighbour? Or rocky undersoil conditions? We’ve yet to get to the bottom of it…
The Two Thirsty Gardeners, Rich and Nick, are bloggers who love gardening, eating and drinking in equal measure! They love to share tales from their allotment including their experiments turning the spoils of their crops into alcohol, both the good and the bad!
To find out more about Rich and Nick,
How to Straighten a Leaning Tree
Have you ever wondered how to straighten a leaning tree? It’s something that affects many homes and it can sometimes be easily fixed!
If you’ve recently planted a tree and you’re noticing that its starting to take on a bit of a lean there are several things you can do yourself to help straighten it. If however, the tree is quite mature and it’s developed a particular lean overtime, then this may be slightly harder. You should also bear in mind the roots. If the roots are well exposed, and the tree is on a massive lean then the tree may have to just be removed.
The following tips will be for trees that are still quite young. We’re also going to presume that the roots are not overly exposed.
So, How to Straighten a Leaning Tree
Staking a tree, or guying a tree is the most common way to straighten a leaning tree. A lot of saplings will have stakes placed near them which will help to encourage a straighter direction of growth. Although some arborists don’t recommend staking, it may indeed be necessary depending on the situation.
Transplanting your tree to another location
A lot of the time a tree can develop a lean from the lack of solidity in the soil below it. If you’ve noticed that the area of dirt below the tree’s roots is quite soft, then this might be a good sign to have the tree transplanted. You should look at transplanting the tree to an area with firmer soil.
Don’t remove the stakes too early
It’s quite often that someone will remove the tree’s stakes and the tree will begin to lean. A lot of the time it’s believed that a tree is ready to support itself very early on. You should pay close attention if you remove the stakes supporting a tree as they can tend to lean after doing so.
Reconsider your stake placement
Another big contributor to a leaning tree is by having poorly placed stakes. You should ensure that your stakes are all set-up accordingly. If your tree is staked incorrectly it may begin to lean after several months. A lot of people won’t notice this because they think the stake will take care of the work. This is why it’s so important to have it staked properly!
Hopefully this blog has been able to give you some reasons and solutions to your leaning tree dilemma. There are plenty of resources out on the internet to help you through with this, but it’s important to make sure you’re using a reputable resource. Feel free to contact Treeman Melbourne if you’re still stuck with a leaning tree and you’d like some expert advice. You can leave us an enquiry HERE.
Wobble Wedges® Plastic Shims Stabilize Your Christmas Trees
It’s that time of year again! Boxes of holiday decorations are emerging from storage as classic holiday music wafts through the house. It’s time to put up the Christmas tree! Whether you hunt for the perfect blue spruce or use a decorative artificial tree, there’s one thing you want to make sure of; that your tree doesn’t fall over or lean. Once covered with your precious decorations, a falling Christmas tree could be an expensive and hazardous disaster. Keep your Christmas tree from falling or leaning with Wobble Wedges® plastic leveling shims.
Help! My Christmas Tree is Leaning!
Artificial Christmas Trees seem like they are incredibly prone to leaning in their stands. Especially an artificial tree that has been used for several years, as the screws in the stand start to loosen. Or if your tree is placed on an uneven surface, the tree stand wobbles, and your tree may lean precariously to one side or the other. To straighten a tree that is leaning over, wedge a Wobble Wedge plastic shim between the tree and the stand or to level your tree stand at the base. Wobble Wedges are available in a variety of colors and sizes so you can choose the leveling wedge best for your project. Wobble Wedges are also securely stackable, so you can combine wedges to keep a Christmas tree from falling over.
Keep a Christmas Tree from Falling
We’ve all seen the hilarious videos of house cats climbing in Christmas trees. It’s adorable when it’s someone else’s tree, but when it happens at home you might feel a bit differently. If you’re ready to cat-proof (or kid proof) your Christmas tree, use Wobble Wedges to stabilize your tree at the base and keep it from leaning or falling. Our BigGap leveling wedges are ideal to fix a leaning artificial tree or add extra support and stability to a real tree. The interlocking ridges give the wedge a non-slip grip so it won’t slide out from under your tree stand.
How To Stabilize a Christmas Tree Topper
Is your Christmas tree topper leaning to one side or refusing to stay on top of your tree altogether? A soft plastic Wobble Wedge is just what you need. Simply flex the wedge between your fingers and insert it into the base of your tree topper to fill the extra space and force your topper into position. Wobble Wedges are available in black, white, and clear so you can choose a wedge that won’t stand out. .
The tilt was intentional in this display created by Jon LaDow for Tishman Speyer’s 555 Mission, San Francisco, office building.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — In the waning days of November, while rummaging through my late parents’ belongings, I came across their circa 1972 revolving tree stand, all gold paint and glitter, in a box in my Dad’s shop in the basement.
Sitting there among the saws and hammers, memories rushed at me from all those Christmases past when the stand sat in the family room and turned the tree 360 degrees so all sides were visible and every ornament got its chance to shine.
I also remembered the many home movies shot with the tree turning in the background as the family opened gifts, and “oohed” and “ahhed” at this sweater or that circa 1972 electronic wonder. (Eight-track cassette player, anyone?)
“Well,” said I to myself, “wouldn’t it be great to use Mom and Dad’s 40-year-old stand with my two-year-old pre-lit tree?”
And so began the longest decorating debacle of my lifetime.
I brought the stand, tree and boxes of ornaments upstairs, intent on getting down to some serious decorating. A certified type “A” personality perfectionist, before doing anything, I set the timer, plugged it in, then carefully ran an extension cord to the spot where the tree and resurrected stand would sit at the center of the picture window.
Next, I plugged in the stand, hit the switch, and as if by magic, it began its slow orbit while at the same time tinkling out “Jingle Bells” from a music box mounted deep within its workings.
Now on to the tree.
This particular seven-and-a-half-foot artificial spruce comes in three pieces. I placed the bottom section into the stand and tightened the screws. Perfect; it looked fine and revolved without incident. Moving on to the middle section, I lowered its trunk onto the first, connected its lights and inwardly cheered as they all lit and the two-thirds assembled tree revolved. Now for the top portion: Slide, plug, revolve. Perfect!
SHAPE AND LEAN
As anyone who owns an artificial tree can tell you, once it’s been sitting in storage for 12 months, shaping is a total necessity. As I grabbed the first branches, straightened and tugged, the tree listed to the left. Oops; must not have tightened the screws enough.
Down onto the floor I went, sliding under the spreading and still-revolving branches, realigning the tree to near vertical and giving each of the four screws a few more turns. Up on my feet again — and at this age, that in itself took a few minutes — I recommenced the artful rearranging of the faux needle-laden wire branches. Before long it was listing to port-side, so I dropped to the floor once more.
After about an hour of arrange branch, drop, tighten, jump up, arrange branch, drop, tighten, jump up, I figured it was time to consider a new tack.
Floral wire; of course! I cut four long sections, looped each around the trunk and down around each screw head. The tree looked straight, so I returned to the task of shaping my never-was-green evergreen and before you could say, “List to starboard, Captain,” the tree once again was leaning to the side. By then I’d had enough and decided to leave it ‘til tomorrow.
At work the next day, I contemplated ways of successfully marrying the old stand with the new tree and, like a flash (not on the lawn and without such a clatter) it came to me: Spray foam insulation. I’d fill the cup of the stand with expanding foam that would harden and hold the tree upright.
After a quick trip to a nearby home center for two cans of insulation, followed by a late business meeting where visions of tipsy trees danced in my head, I returned home to give my solution a try. I first checked for level and plumb, then filled the cup with the foam. It was late by this time, so I went to bed hoping for the best.
TIPSY ONCE MORE
The next morning, fingers crossed as I approached the seemingly upright tree, I jostled it and, to my great dismay, it shuddered and leaned to the right. Down to the floor I dropped yet again and saw that foam covered the stand. I reached in to see if it had hardened, only to find my hands submerged in a gluey mess. On standing, I absentmindedly plunged them into the pockets of my fleece jacket and wound up with fuzzy palms no amount of scrubbing seemed able to unstick for hours afterward.
But, I would not be deterred; I was determined to see a tree revolving in the house this year as it had done in my youth.The floral wire didn’t work and the foam was a flop. What else could I try? And then I remembered there was some wood down in the shop.
I cleaned the goop out of the stand, cut four strips of 1-by-2, placed the bottom portion of the tree into the cup, arranged the wood around the trunk at the screws, tightened several times, then stood up and sheepishly began to shape the branches. So far, so good: We had revolutions and verticality.
Emboldened, I added a few sets of lights to augment those on my pre-lit nevergreen and began to hang the ornaments, all the while holding my breath and waiting for the tree to tumble like a row of Rockettes. It didn’t. The decorating was complete and all sides of the tree were visible as it turned and jingled in the 40-year-old stand … and I celebrated with a nice glass of mulled cider and a Valium.
I’m happy to report that, two weeks later, the tree is still standing tall and revolving in the front window. Not that I want to brag or anything, but, if I may quote the final three words of Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold in the 1989 film National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, “I did it.”
James G. Ferreri, ASID, CID, is a professional interior designer whose column, Present, Past Future, runs once a month in Home.
You don’t nee to be an avid green thumb to know that trees should grow straight and upright.
When they lean to one side, there’s a greater risk of them falling over, which can be downright dangerous if there is a home, carport, or other man-made structure nearby.
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to correct an aged tree that is leaning. If the tree is large and has been growing in the same position for five or more years, like the one in the picture above, it’s doubtful that you can move or correct it without causing substantial injury or death.
But for smaller trees that are learning, including trees that you’ve recently transplanted, you can correct them.
Before we reveal the steps to correcting a leaning tree, it’s important to know why trees lean in the first place. Among the most common reasons is loose soil, which is particularly common when trees are transplanted.
If the soil is too loose, the sheer weight of the tree may cause it to tilt. Other factors that may cause or contribute to leaning include strong winds, a weak trunk, drainage problems, and weak root structures.
In some cases, leaning trees will correct themselves. In other cases, though, you’ll need to step in and lend a hand.
Assuming the tree is small and young, you may be able to straighten it by staking it to the ground. This is best done with wood or metal stakes, exceeding no longer than five feet in length.
Simply drive the stakes into the ground alongside the tree, at which point you can secure the tree to the stakes using either rope or wire.
Tighten the wire or rope so it pulls the tree straight and leave it in place for one full season. At the end of the season, your tree should be straight, or at least straighter than before.
Another solution is to uproot and transplant the tree in a new location. Depending on the age and species/variety, you may be able to uproot the leaning tree and transplant it in a new location upright.
With that said, anytime you uproot a tree you run the risk of stressing it to the point of death. This is why you should only use this technique as a last resort.
When uprooting a tree, try to get all of the roots while bringing as much “old” soil over to the new location as possible.
The Woodsman Company offers tree planting, tree pruning and shrub trimming, tree removal and stump grinding as well as a tree wellness program.
If we can help with any of your tree care needs give us a call at 512-846-2535 or 512-940-0799 or
How can I straighten this crooked tree?
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