How to Straighten a Tree

March 16, 2021
March 16, 2021 Ryan McFadgen

How to Straighten a Tree

We expect trees to grow in tall and straight, but sometimes things don’t work out the way we pictured them. Weather, sunlight, poor transplantation, and other factors can interfere with how a tree decides to grow, and sometimes you might discover that a sapling is leaning a bit (or a lot) sideways.

A sideways tree is probably not what you wanted for your landscape, and it might interfere by excessively shading other plants in the yard. In some cases the tree can grow toward your house or other structures, and cause problems in the future. Therefore, the time to correct this situation is now. Luckily, we have ways of doing that.

Cabling and bracing. Many arborists argue against cabling or bracing trees, stating that they grow best when left unencumbered. But that’s not always realistic when a tree poses a problem to your landscape or threatens to grow into your house. Cabling or bracing the tree can train it to grow in the correct direction.

If you opt for cabling or bracing the tree, consult with an expert first. This method works best on thinner-stemmed trees, or those with small root balls that have been recently transplanted.

Cabling or bracing a tree should be used for one growing season only, until the its natural root system becomes more established. These systems can damage the bark on the tree, especially when used in excess or for long periods of time, and some trees can become distressed beyond repair when cabling or bracing is used inappropriately.

Uprooting and replanting a tree. In some cases it might be necessary to uproot and replant a tree that is growing sideways. However, several rules must be followed in order to prevent death of the tree. At least one third of the roots must remain planted, and exposed roots must be left alone. Don’t attempt to uproot a tree and replant a tree on your own; consult an expert to ensure that the job can be performed safely and for the best benefit of both the tree and the overall landscape.

In some cases, a tree simply cannot be straightened, especially if the situation has developed over a long period of time. In that case, call us for an estimate on tree removal, and we can offer you an estimate on our services.


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