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Learn a few common causes for leaning trees – and see if the tree can be saved or straightened.

Can You Save a Leaning Tree?

July 12, 2016

Lofty, stately trees lining your driveway or standing proudly in the yard add the perfect touch to your landscape.

Then one day, often after a nasty storm, your previously straight tree is leaning. Yikes.

Learn a few common causes for leaning trees – and see if the tree can be saved or straightened.

My tree is slowly leaning over time. What can I do?

All is good! A tree that naturally leans is no cause for concern.

Trees planted close to each other or nearby buildings gradually lean away from neighboring objects. Or, the curve could mean the tree’s trunk is adjusting for better sunlight. It’s all about location, location, location!

Don’t be alarmed by this off-center growth. Instead, keep an eye on your tree to make sure the lean doesn’t become extreme.

I have a tree leaning after a storm. How can I straighten it?

Trees struck with a sudden lean after a storm will likely need an arborist’s attention. If your tree is leaning close to your home, car or a common area, it could be posing an immediate threat, so call a certified tree expert.

By conducting a tree risk assessment, your arborist will determine if the tree’s structure has been affected. Severe weather can cause the tree’s fibers to bend, but that doesn’t mean the structure is broken.

Once your arborist determines the trunk and roots are intact, he may recommend cabling and bracing. This is an ideal way to straighten trees and provide tree branch support.

How can I save a storm damaged tree that is leaning?

Trees that are older or weakened may not be left with the best luck after a storm.

Look for these clear signs that your storm damaged tree is in trouble.

  • Trees with cracks that affect more than half of the main trunk generally need to be removed.
  • If your tree is leaning and also lost half of its branches, your tree may need to be removed.

Your arborist will carefully assess your tree for signs of failure and recommend the best next step. If there’s structural damage or your tree poses a safety risk, tree removal may be recommended.

Learn more about when it’s time to remove a tree here.

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