Bending an oak tree

I have an oak in my backyard that was hit by a falling tree back in 2004. The trunk is 14" - 16" in diameter and the tree is probably 25' - 30' high. The falling tree pushed the top of this tree into an oak next to it, and all the branches got tangled. Well 3 years later and the oak has a pronounced bend in the trunk and has been growing into the other oak. I would like to bend it back to its original position. I was thinking of attaching a steel cable as high as I can get it and use some sort of winch/come-along/ratchet attached to another tree in the yard to slowly pull the tree back into its original position over time (or even a little further along). Is this feasible?
You can see the tree at:
http://www.spilledwhine.com/pics/benttree1.jpg
http://www.spilledwhine.com/pics/benttree2.jpg
Thanks, Tom Kuhn
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A) this tree is WAY overpruned. Low branches contribute to branch/trunk taper and make for a stronger tree. 2/3 of the branches should originate in the lower 1/2 of the tree. The small amount of leaf area remaining is not adequate to support the large trunk. A drought or severe insect/disease problem could easily finish this tree off.
B) stubs are better than flush cuts, but these cuts are too stubby. The trunk will be exposed to decay longer than necessary as the branch collar climbs out and around these large wounds.
C) it is impossible to tell from a photo whether the lean is caused by tangling or if the trunk cracked and is compromised. If the trunk is damaged, pulling it back with a come-along may simply free it from the other tree and allow it to fall on your house.
My first instinct based on the photos is to remove the tree. A good arborist could inspect it more thoroughly and might be able to suggest a plan to right it and save it. I do not recommend trying either on your own.
Find arborists through the American Society of Consulting Arborists or the International Society of Arboriculture.
Learn proper tree care at www.treesaregood.com.
good luck, Keith Babberney ISA Certified Arborist #TX-0236AT
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I did not personally trim the tree, a tree trimming service did it recently.
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Hire a consulting arborist and sue for your money back plus damages.
Keith
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Treedweller wrote:

Sue for what damages? It's a tree trimming service (not a miracle worker) that was obviously hired to trim the tree AFTER the tree became "deformed" (what's a perfect tree anyway). The tree trimming service did in fact trim the tree, and the customer (Tom) paid them, obviously Tom was satisfied that the trimmer trimmed as per agreement. There were no guarantees... the most honored, most famous arborist in the world can't make any guarantees... lightening can strike that tree the very next minute. Sue for what damages, the tree didn't fall on the house during the trimming, there are no damages.
Btw, even from those pictures, anyone can plainly tell that tree is too tall for that space, it needs removal before it falls on the neighbor's property, then you can bet your bipee there will be suing, actually Tom's bipee and only Tom's bipee will be liable. If Tom values his bipee he'll have that tree removed, pronto.
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The pruning that was done did not meet current industry standards, as explained in the earlier message. Too much living tissue was removed from the wrong places and the cuts were made improperly. None of that had anything to do with the lean of the tree (though if they knew what they were doing they either would have corrected the problem or explained why the tree was beyond saving once they climbed and inspected it).
As for "too tall," trees of certain species get tall. They are designed that way and they do it just fine, until people decide to muck it all up and ruin their inherent strength by either overpruning or topping. This tree was suspect because of the wind damage, but once the "tree trimming service" got through with it, it was quite definitely destroyed.
And, as for liability, once someone claiming to be a professional arborist came out, did the job, and did not condemn the tree (I'm guessing based on Tom's OP), they took on a good bit of the liability for the tree and any future failure that may occur. It's true that there are no guarantees, but in this case there are clear indications of potential hazard that a professional arborist should be trained to recognize. That should be one of the primary reasons for hiring a professional. In this case, they dropped the ball and even made the situation worse. A valuable asset was taken from the OP (albeit in a slow-motion, tree-time sort of way) and he should demand compensation.
Keith Babberney ISA Certified Arborist #TX-0236AT
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Looks kinda limp... perhaps some Viagra would straighten that wood.
Get it taken down, not much room in that smasll yard... it look about ready to fall on something.
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I think the tree can be saved, I do not know why, but the tree has been sprouting new shoots off the trunk since is was bent. I really think the tree was pushed and stuck under the other tree, yet it has done very well considering its situation. It seems strong and willing to grow. I do not think it is limp. Looking at the old pictures of the other tree that fell, nothing hit the trunk, or broke off any branches, it just got shoved under the other tree. The real question is whether it can be repositioned using a cable system?
Tom
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First the method you mention may injure the tree. The steel cable. I would have to see the tree to make recommendation. We could make a special camb guard for the job if its not to large of a tree. http://home.ccil.org/~treeman/camb /
If the tree is large I might, I would have to see the tree, drill and place a bolt rod in. I would scribe just so round washers would sit flat on the wood. The a nut on one and the end to pull would have an amon nut. If interested I could make some drawings.
The tree would be done growing in girth in 8-10 weeks after the leaves have fully formed. Then the new material will become lignified. So you could pull it until new growth lignified. Just to pull it over winter would not serve much.
Sincerely, John A. Keslick, Jr. Arborist http://home.ccil.org/~treeman and www.treedictionary.com Beware of so-called tree experts who do not understand tree biology. Storms, fires, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions keep reminding us that we are not the boss.
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On Sat, 28 Jul 2007 19:37:38 -0400, "symplastless"

I'm surprised at this, John. Even one of the Trade Advertising Journals just ran an article explaining that scribing around washers has been discredited, as it tends to lead to extensive decay. Simply pulling the washer against the bark does the job better; the comressed bark makes something like a cork washer to buffer the hardware and reduce the long-term decay in the heartwood.
Keith Babberney ISA Certified Arborist #TX-0236AT
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I am confused as to what everyone is saying about the tree being pruned too high. The tree always had a single narrow trunk. Only after it was bent, did little shoots start coming out of the trunk all along the curved surface. All of these little twigs were removed, but I think only two other existing branches were removed. It has always really looked like that. I am not too concerned about it falling on my house, the tree is really not that big of a threat, not even to my neighbors (Their tree was the start of all this, Oh and hurricane Charley). What I find baffling is that a few people have said to remove it. This seems like the "We need to burn this Village to save it" mentality. Well if that is the case, then what harm can come trying to winch it straight. I guess my original post was more concerned with the engineering aspects, such as: Will the tree even move if I was cranking it? and Lbs of force to use? and what would be a good spot on the tree to attach a sling like thing to (High Middle Low??)
Tom Kuhn
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Do not use a sling , it will girdle the tree.
Sincerely, John A. Keslick, Jr. Arborist http://home.ccil.org/~treeman and www.treedictionary.com Beware of so-called tree experts who do not understand tree biology. Storms, fires, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions keep reminding us that we are not the boss.
wrote:

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Tom,
I'm with you, I say give it a try. I see some good ideas here, to use a proper sling and to find out when in the trees annual growth cycle this should be attempted. I'd add this suggestion...if you grab the tree too high , you might end up with a double dogleg trunk as the top bends and then later tries to grow straight up again. Since you want to lower 2/3rds of the trunk to be straight (the upper part will follow), and the trunk is one solid piece up to where it splits into two section, I'd grab it just below the split, just below the two stubs. I'd use a very long cable or thick rope on as flat(horizontal) an angle as possible...it would seem the flatter the angle the less force that would be required for the pull, and less force equals less danger. And I think the tree would find it easier to conform to a near horizontal pull.
If the solid trunk is too rigid and resists bending back, you might have to go higher to find the right leverage, but I think the high you go, and the thinner the trunk, the greater the chance that the upper trunk will bend instead of the lower trunk bending.
If you try it, post back with some photos.
jc
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Be careful not to girdle the tree!
--
Sincerely,
John A. Keslick, Jr.
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...

Remember the tree grows in girth evergy year.
--
Sincerely,
John A. Keslick, Jr.
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Absolutely not. People tried to convince Dr Shigo of this until the day he died. I guess when you dissect as many trees as he did, you don't fall for some of these people who have not dissected as many trees. If you scribe you do not scribe to the heartwood. I will continue to be guided my MODERN ARBORICULTURE and NEW TREE BIOLOGY. The research you mention is not long enough research as far as I understand the situation. Just how long was the research and what were the controls.
Sincerely, John A. Keslick, Jr. Arborist http://home.ccil.org/~treeman and www.treedictionary.com Beware of so-called tree experts who do not understand tree biology. Storms, fires, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions keep reminding us that we are not the boss.
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