Birch tree leaning after windstorm, what do do?

Hi-
Looking for some net.wisdom here. I know I should probably be calling a "certified arborist", but after yesterday, I suspect all the one's in the Seattle area have bigger fish to fry for the next few weeks...
We had a very unusual, northly windstorm yesterday (prevailing bad weather here is from the south). One of two White Birches in our front yard developed a significant (say, 20 degree) list, and pulled the ground on the upwind side up by a foot or so.
As an emergency measure, a couple of neighbors and I guyed the tree to a pair of 4x4 fence posts that were nearby using come-alongs. Using the come-alongs, I was able to reduce the list by 5 or 10 degrees.
This tree is about 40 feet tall, and maybe 8-10 inches in diameter at the widest point of the trunk. There's no outwardly observable damage to the trunk. As I said, the roots on the upwind side have been uprooted somewhat. Anybody have an educated guess as to if this tree can be saved? I'm guessing that I can gradually bring it back towards vertical by tightening the come-alongs and inch or so a day. But I'm concerned that the tree will never be stable again, and that it might have suffered hidden damage.
Thanks in advance,
-dm
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On Wed, 28 Apr 2004 13:11:02 -0700, Dennis McCrohan

You're right, the tree is proably now dangerously unstable. Perhaps it can be saved; it depends a lot on how far from teh trunk the roots are heaving. If the tree is 10 inches in diameter, I'd hope the heaving begins at least 10 feet from the trunk, but you might get away with 5. Assuming it is at least that far away, whether you try to rehabilitate it should depend on what it would fall on if it failed (and your budget and willingness to lose whatever you spend on trying to save it). If there is a street, house or sidewalk under it, I'd say don't take the chance. If it would fall into an open lawn area, I'd say it might be worth a try, but don't have any picnics under it.
Whatever you use to support it (assuming you want to save it) should be designed with the idea that it will be permanent. You may be able to install a cable that would draw support from a nearby tree(s); this would be the best option, assuming you have such a tree or trees. A pole support underneath will damage the trunk where contact is made, but if you really like the tree that may be a small compromise to make.
In the end, I'd say you answered your own question: call an arborist. The International Society of Arboriculture has a searchable database of Certified Arborists, which you can use by entering your ZIP code (link below). You might even want to look for a memeber of the American Society of Consulting Arborists (http://www.asca-consultants.org /). You might pay more, but you'll get someone more likely to be experienced in this sort of thing. A lot of pretty good arborists will automatically condemn this tree to avoid the risk, or because they specialize in pruning or removals instead of difficult choices/solutions.
good luck,
Keith Babberney ISA Certified Arborist # TX-0236 For more info about the International Society of Arboriculture, please visit http://www.isa-arbor.com/home.asp . For consumer info about tree care, visit http://www.treesaregood.com /
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