I have an oriental fruit tree, called "Longan"? it's about 15 to 18 feet
tall, and many trees in my neighborhood fell after Wilma, it stood up. I was
happy that it did not snap (the metal light pole ten feet from it snapped in
But when I inspected it real close, I can see that it is now leaning a
little bit. Also as I walked on one side, the soil is very soft and loose,
as if the root has been pulled up a bit.
How do I fix this? If I ignore it it probably will grow until the next storm
and that's it. Is there a way to "right" it? The trunk is about 12 inches in
You can try staking it. Apply some rope around a strong point on the tree, and
it with something so that it doesn't dig into the trunk. Fasten it to a firm
stake(s) in the
ground. You may not be able to straighten it immediately, so it is preferable to
do this gradually by taking up slack on the rope from time to time. With that
a tree, you may need some helping hands or some kind of mechanical advantage to
get the tree to move. I once straigtened a tree using pulleys and a car jack.
Thanks for the advise, the problem however is actually getting to a point
where I can stake it.
This is a picture of what the situation is:
The tree is near the corner of a fenced area. I added some red dashes to
show where the roots are coming up and the soil is loosened...and the green
arrows showing how it is leaning.
I need to push it in the opposite direction. I cannot use a car or truck
inside the fence as cars cannot access that area. To it's left is a
swimming pool and another tree.
I along with two other neigbors tried pushing it by hand, didn't yield at
I outlined the fences in two colors. The brown outlined side butts up
against my neighbor, who has a pool on the other side, so can't pull from
there. Otherwise that would be the right direction to pull.
On the other side of the blue fence is a back alley wide enough for cars.
This is where they come pick up garbage. I can get a truck in there to pull
using a rope? But it will be pulling at an angle instead. Also, the main
truck is lower than the fence where I can apply leverage, so may be pulling
will mess up the fence.
Is this tree caught between "a pool and a fence"? I can see no good
Even though the soil in the red dashed area is "very soft and loose", it is
compacted enough to prevent you from pushing the tree upright. The
suggestion here is to dig under that area, damaging existing roots as much
as possible. When you have excavated enough dirt, you should be able to
push the tree upright and backfill. Of course, you want to be careful about
not digging too deep a hole to avoid the tree ending up lower in the ground.
Lots of work, though.
The alternative would be to seek professional help. Those folks have the
equipment to handle situations like this. I bet they'll do something like
bring in a crane of some sort, dig around the red dashed area, pull the tree
upright, and backfill.
If you had that much trouble moving it, it probably isn't going
anywhere. The side of the root system away from the lean has been
damaged, and most likely the resulting gap in the soil was backfilled
naturally, so there is no longer a hole down there to push the tree
The big question is, can you pull it over more? Obviously you don't
want to put too much into testing this or you might just pull it down.
But you want a sense of how much the roots are still holding (the
roots between the tree and the red fence--and beyond--are what keep
the tree from falling in the direction of the lean). If it seems
pretty strong, you probably had more of a soil shift than anything,
and you should enjoy the character of your now-leaning tree. If it
seems you could pull the whole thing over, you've lost a lot of roots
and you need to help the tree maintain the current lean (as opposed to
going further toward failure). It might be nice if the fence were
farther away, but you can put in a stake near the fence and tether the
trunk to it. That will help hold the tree up until roots can regrow
on the damaged side. After a year or so, remove the staking and hope
for the best.
ISA Certified Arborist #TX-0236AT
A tree the size you have there can still be brought back to an upright
The supplyies I suggest for you is get some old hose and some cable and
turnbuckles and some long stakes.
Make sure you get the stakes in deep and then loop the cable around the
tree and connect it to the turnbuckle then connect the turnbuckle to
cable from the stake.
This will give an easy way to tighten your cable up you can do it in a
rather small space.
Peiodically tighten the cable until it the tree is in the position you
Keep it staked for at least a year after that to make sure itis fully
Here is what I did to straighten a leaning tree. I went to the
building supply and bought 2 long jack post. (these were 3 or 4 inch
dia. steel pipe post 8 feet tall with a screw thread cap on top) I put
blocks of wood at an angle in the ground and nailed a 1X6 to a 2X4 to
make V shaped blocks to place under limbs. I installed the jacks until
tight and then tightened a couple of turns a day with the jack,
sometimes more with 1 jack than the other to keep it going in the
right direction. 3 weeks later the tree was back to where it was
originally. I left the jacks in place for about 6 months and it stayed
in place when they were removed. I did cover the screw threads with
grease, so I'll have them to use again for whatever. That was 3 years
ago and no need has come along!!
As I eluded to in an earlier reply, it is a matter of leverage, even in this
space. You could drive a stake into the corner of the fence. Attach a cable to
stake and tree. This will create a pull angle both downward and back, but I think
you will be able to generate enough back pressure to move the tree backwards.
Intersperce with an inline jack, probably available at a rentall place.
This worked for me in a similar predicatment. You could also use a pulley to
the cable away from the fence to give you more room to attach the jack. In case
you are wondering, I got a lot of experience from raising and lowering the mast
my sailboat in similar cramped quarters. I also righted a large red cedar that
over and was planted close to my building.
I'll take the unpopular opinion and say leave it b alone. It will right
itself to face the sun in time, and curved trunks add character to trees and
Heck- compared to 90% of my backyard it looks just dandy!
South Florida USA
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