Thread: "anchoring" leaning trees

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Princeton, NJ

    "anchoring" leaning trees

    i have some Green Giants planted in an area of the yard that sometimes gets very watterlogged, like after the recent NE storms.

    the trees are now about 5-6' tall and doing well. however, during/after this last storm i noticed one of them leaning further and further over, i estimate to about 25-35 angle. I was able to easily bring it upright and have attached guy wires to keep it that way.

    my concern is how easily the tree was moved, like the rootball has not extended very far in the soil. it may be the hardpan we have is preventing the roots from extending horizontally to anchor the tree, or that Green Giants don't have wide root systems.

    what steps can i do to help these trees either establish good wide roots, or to secure them in the soil? i'd prefer to move away from guy wires once they are able to stand on their own.

    i've thought of loosening the soil some more around them to allow roots to expand more, as well as driving some metal rebar or other posts down through the root ball and into the surrounding soil to "anchor" them.

    i assume doing this now when the soil is moist and the trees are just coming out of hibernation might be the best approach. i guess i would also put down some holly-tone in wide circles around the trees to lure the roots into some horizontal growth.

    any thoughts or advice or weblinks very much appreciated.

    thanks in advance


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    St. Louis zone 6

    RE: "anchoring" leaning trees

    Sometimes when its dry over the summer and my fresh transplants need water I water the ground at the edge of the rootball instead of just the rootball. My theory is it makes the otherwise healthy trees "chase" the water instead of just growing circling roots in their little planting areas.

    Were your trees planted with any burlap left over the rootball?

    Make sure the wires don't girdle the trees.
    Zone 6, St. Louis, MO

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Waco, Tx

    RE: "anchoring" leaning trees

    I'd anchor them with 2 tee posts. Loosen up after end of summer. Remove entirely at end of 2nd summer.
    Wet the soil well and go into the root ball and try to ungirdle the roots. Sounds like the trees were root bound (circling the pot) when you planted them. They should be heading out radially from the trunk. This should have been done when planting. Much better to do this when they were dormant, however now you have no choice. They are in bad shape and must be corrected as soon as possible. If not you will simply have bigger trees that fall over. You may lose the trees, but they are no good the way they are.
    The idea mentioned above is good, force roots to grow to get to moisture.
    Water at the root ball for next 6 weeks at least once a week if no rainfall.
    Then start watering further out as mentioned above.

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