Newly planted tree is leaning. Dig or not to dig?

darthtrader(10 SoCal)February 8, 2013

I just planted this tree about three weeks ago. After some successive rain in SoCal, the tree (pruned to knee high) is now leaning, as you can see from this diagram. Is it severe enough of a lean that I should I carefully dig it up and correct it or just leave it alone? Thanks in advance.

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darthtrader(10 SoCal)


This post was edited by darthtrader on Fri, Feb 8, 13 at 2:30

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 2:27AM
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darthtrader(10 SoCal)

Hmm...let's see if this link works better..

This post was edited by darthtrader on Fri, Feb 8, 13 at 3:39

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 2:28AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

At that angle it could be left alone. But what I'd do is tie it to a stake to hold it upright. Keep it there a year and it should be good to go.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:01AM
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Yeah, when planting new trees its usually a good idea to drive three stakes into the ground around it and tie cords from the stakes to the tree. Make them somewhat taunt, and it prevents the tree from leaning or getting blown over until it has firmly established itself.

If you just planted this three weeks ago, odds are the roots have not had a chance to do much if any growing and the rootball has simply slipped in it's hole. When you are tying it down with the stakes, see if you can gently pull it back to being straight again.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 3:02PM
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Do not tie cord directly around the tree trunk. Use a piece of old hose or a knee high nylon works great and has a little stretch. Attach to the tree then attch to the cord/stakes

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 3:28PM
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Just from my own experience. When I planted a bareroot William's Pride in the spring of 2011, it was straight. However, toward the end of the growing season, it's leaning like yours. It probably happened when soil settled. My bare root was about 3.5' tall. I tied it to a stake later.

By the spring of 2012, I did not like the look of a leaning tree. I just dug it up, replanted it in the new hole and made sure it straight.

The good news is it has survived. It did not grow much last year, probably from the shock. I hope it'll do well from now on.

Your tree was just planted. If you can't stand the look or are worried that it would lean even more later, you'd dig it up and replant it. Good luck

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 4:26PM
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I've never had to stake a tree that was cut off to knee height. The DWN site doesn't recommend staking trees with this strategy.

I would just unearth the tree a bit and straighten it out.

Here is a link that might be useful: How To Plant a Tree - and a lot more

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 4:28PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

crimminey ...

knee high????.. just planted ...

take your shovel ... on the side opposite the lean.. sink it complete.. straight down.. then shift the plant by moving the shovel under the trunk .. it will straighten ..

then jump on the soil.. and settle it in there .. so it doesnt happen again ...

staking an 18 inch tree is sublimely ridiculous.. let alone 3 stakes..

in the alternative... dig it back up.. and yell DO OVER...

it was just planted.. nothing has happened.. there wont be any new roots to disturb ...

we in the tree forum.. recommend planting in native soil .. you didnt happen to amend the planting hole.. and all those amendments are part of the cause of this lean?????


ps: why did you prune a new tree to 18 inches??? one might speculate that you cut off a lot of its potential leaves.. which are the food making machines.. to grow the roots.. to get it established.. to get a crop sooner ... [unless it was mail order]

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 8:01PM
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darthtrader(10 SoCal)


ken, thanks for the suggested remedies. I used only native soil to back fill. As far as the knee high cut, I've been watching the Dave Wilson Nursery videos on Youtube which advocate the "knee high" cut on small caliper fruit trees as part of what they call "Back Yard Orchard Culture" or BYOC. The ultimate goal being an open centered tree with a max height of 8 feet. Living around quite a few old, well established orchards here in SoCal, it seems to be common practice in the commercial orchard setting as well as the backyard. Short fruit pickers, I gather. :P

I'll give staking and stomping a go. Thanks all!

ps: Ken and anyone else intrigued by the knee high cut, I included the Dave Wilson Nursery pruning Youtube video below.

Thanks again everyone!

Here is a link that might be useful: DWN BYOC Extreme Pruning

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:45PM
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