To straighten or not to straighten

And if so, how? I planted a 12' live oak a few months ago and it has become obvious it is kind of off kilter. Maybe it was straight while still strapped to the pole it came from the nursery with, or maybe I was crosseyed that day. The tree appears to have settled in nicely and has sprouted lots of nice new leaves. Anyway, my options are: dig up the root ball again and try to shift the whole thing, strap it back to a pole (came with a length of stout bamboo) for a while, or let it go. Will it tend to grow straight over time, I wonder?
- Duane with a leaning oak
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Let it lean. Can you say "character" ?
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A newly planted tree always deserves and needs support for several years. Use a stake at about 4' away from the stem~~ Hammered in well at about 45 degrees. Fix with a good 'elastic' tie when upright. Inner tubes make the best ties. Best Wishes. Brian.

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wrote:

Never leave the stakes on more than a year or two. Beyond that and the tree becomes dependent, or just gets injured by whatever is holding it to the stakes. After 2 years, the tree should have rooted into the native soil. If it hasn't, you have bigger problems than staking.
Running wire through hose and around the tree is no better than just the wire. Inner tube with no wire inside is not a bad choice (as was mentioned above, elasticity is good). Just remember that anything wrapped around a tree trunk or branch has the potential to act as a noose and kill everything above it. If the tree grows to a point where the guying material is tight against the trunk all around, loosen or replace it with a longer loop.
If the tree in question is a tall whip with a little bit of leaf growth on top, a stake may reduce its ability to develop a stronger trunk. Stake it if need be, but go by every day and shake it to flex the trunk. The movement will make the trunk stronger and eventually you will be able to remove the stakes. If it can't make it after 2 years, remove the stakes anyway and deal with the results as you must.
If it is stouter and has branches distrubuted all along the trunk, count yourself lucky, and leave the low branches on as long as you are willing, as they will increase trunk taper and make a stronger tree. Don't stake unless it had a very small root ball (if it was easy to blow over on level ground while in the container or burlap, staking is important--if not, don't bother), was a bare-root planting, or it will be in strong winds. DO NOT try to compensate for a top-heavy form by planting deeper. The root crown needs to breathe and it is better to plant too high than too low. Most container-grown trees are potted too deeply already, and you may need to remove some soil from the tree's base if this was a container tree or if you planted deep.
good luck,
Keith Babberney ISA Certified Arborist
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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I run into this a lot, especially with really big trees as the rootballs weigh up to 500 tons!
The real answer is usually to gingerly dig it up, perhaps on only their leaning side, and re-set it. If it just been a few months you won't be molesting many new rootlets IMO.
--
Mike LaMana, MS
Heartwood Consulting Services, LLC
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some trees look better with non vertical trunks. readily found pics: http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8 &q=leaning+palm&spell=1
http://www.aliseeiii.homestead.com/files/36a-Catherine_Leaning_on_Palm - web.jpg some 'swimtrunks' look better than any tree at any angle
also http://images.google.com/images ? q=tbn:Pqr11bqPS3MJ:www.silba.org/slike_biljke/Aleppo%2520pine%2520-% 2520Pinus%2520halepensis_jpg.jpg http://images.google.com/images ? q=tbn:vz_ezOzPNcYJ:www.science.siu.edu/landplants/Coniferophyta/images/Cupr essus.macrocarpa.JPEG http://images.google.com/images?q=tbn:oh - 2SQyb4r4J:community.webshots.com/s/image2/8/91/42/82189142grAqPf_ph.jpg
maybe these aren't the best http://images.google.com/images ? q=tbn:8VipvFmIxpsJ:www.lotusbonsai.com/tree%2520photos/leaning%2520pine.JPG http://images.google.com/images ? q=tbn:m1Idc2VdFV0J:web.uct.ac.za/depts/geolsci/dlr/4day2001/dscn0590.jpg
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Duane wrote:

I have a valley white oak (Quercus lobata) that I started from an acorn. When I planted it into the ground (having kept it in containers for 3-4 years, ending with a 5 gallon can), I wanted it to look like a tree. It was already a sapling about 6 ft tall (no longer merely a seedling). So I trimmed it to a single leader.
The tree, however, was quite limber, too much for using guy wires to keep it straight. It would bend in the middle, allowing the guy wires to become loose. Yet it was taller than any stake. Once, I found it lying like a vine across my driveway.
I was advised to cut it off about 1 ft above ground and then let it resprout and grow like a bush for a few years, until the wood became firm. I did so. After the new growth became hard, I gradually pruned away all shoots except one. Now the tree is 28 years old, about 30 ft high, with a trunk 17 inches in diameter and a branch spread of 45 feet. It leans slightly to the south-east, away from prevailing breezes.
The conclusion is that you need a great amount of patience with oaks. You also need to remember that they tend NOT to have a single tall trunk (as do liquidambars and many pines) but instead have multiple spreading limbs. In the end, the branch spread may far exceed the height. This will obscure any leaning.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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snip
and all you had to do was dig a hole, refill, and let a squirrel plant the acorn :-)
45' wide seems good growth for only 28 yo lobata. does it get some irrigatoin or is there underground stream nearby?
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"Gard@Gard.info" wrote:

I water it deeply 2-3 times each summer. I'm also sure its roots have spread to reach under my roses, which I soak weekly. The roots might even extend under my neighbor's front lawn, which is also frequently watered.
Unlike naturally growing oaks, this one should not be damaged from summer watering because I pruned away the tap root while it was still a seedling. A replacement taproot grew, which I then removed before planting the tree in the ground.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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