Storm blew tree part-way over

melle_sacto(Z9/Sunset 14 CA)February 2, 2010

I can't decide if we should hope the tree will re-root better or if we should take it out. It's a flowering pear, about seven years old. Some type of tall, columnar variety. Very narrow for its height.

It blew over about 35 degrees. DH uprighted it w/ropes but subsequent wind/rain caused it to tilt again. The ropes are ugly so I was hoping DH could straighten the tree again and take them down. I like the shade we get from the tree, w/o it there is no shade on the grass for my boys to play in their wading pool this summer :-(

What would you do? Can a tree re-root and be sturdy?

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calistoga_al

Your tree can "reroot" if supported. You should be considering why it blew over? Is it shallow rooted in a very loose soil? Is the canopy so dense it is acting like a "sail" and not allowing the wind to blow through the tree? It will blow over again when you remove the supports unless you do something. Al

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 9:52AM
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Dick_Sonia(Sunset 17)

Poor wind resistance is a known fault of flowering pears, and it only gets worse as the tree gets larger. The more common problem -- especially with 'Bradford' and 'Cleveland Select' (which is probably what you have) -- is that the tree eventually falls apart because the fastigiate habit of the tree produces week crotches that split the trunk down the middle. Were it I, I would remove it and replace it with something more climate-suitable like Cotinus 'Grace,' Vitex agnus-castus or a small oak such as Quercus gambelii. I think you're just going to have increasing problems with it as it gets older, even if you manage to get it through its current root crisis. Fastigiate trees don't cast much shade anyway, so I don't see that as a major factor in favor of keeping it.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 2:06PM
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melle_sacto(Z9/Sunset 14 CA)

Thanks for responding! I'm sure it blew over b/c the branches acted like a sail. It has a tall, dense canopy. The tree grows in heavy soil and, even though I THOUGHT I deep-watered it, maybe I didn't do it right :-( Yes, the branches mostly have narrow crotch angles.

It was a free shade tree through our utility program so I'm not out the $, but it's the only thing that shades our lawn in the hot afternoon sun and I have two young kids. Yes it's not much shade, but it's about eight feet of shade and that's better than nothing during Sacramento mid-day summers.

I have a Vitex that I LOVE, but we're on a tight budget so buying another tree isn't an option. We do have a pomegranate that's about 6 feet tall and needs to be moved--I guess DH will take out the pear and put the pomegranate in it's place.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 11:48AM
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borderbarb

Have you thought about Fruitless Mulberry? I had one in my front yard for 30 years. It shaded my house in summer. It died and I have replaced with another .. named Barry Mulberry.
http://home.howstuffworks.com/fruitless-mulberry-tree.htm

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 8:06PM
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melle_sacto(Z9/Sunset 14 CA)

Thanks for the mulberry suggestion but we don't have space; I don't care for their look, plus DH is deathly allergic to them when they have all their spring pollen. I agree w/you that they provide great shade--deep, cool shade--for the right yard and people :-)

Our backyard is small, which is probably why the utility company suggested we grow the narrow, columnar flowering pear. Pomegranates are small trees/large shrubs, plus ours is free--plus DH said he would be willing to move the pom and take out the pear.

I mainly wanted to know whether it was worth the effort and stress of trying to get the current tree upright and keep our fingers crossed that it doesn't blow over again--sounds like it's not.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 9:30PM
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melle_sacto(Z9/Sunset 14 CA)

Hi everyone!

I wanted to thank you for your advice. DH removed the pear this past weekend. All the main roots ranged from 1-5 inches below the soil surface and were mostly in the lawn (which was the direction it blew...toward the lawn and the house). I guess I didn't deep-water it enough :-O !!!

I'm sad that the shade it gone, but the pomegranate will probably do a lot better. It was also near the lawn, and near the house, but didn't have a bunch of big roots snaking toward the lawn, the roots were more evenly distributed. Now the pom has more room to grow and we don't have to worry about it blowing over--plus it has a much prettier shape :-)

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 4:01PM
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calistoga_al

Roots will grow where the moisture is. If only one side of the tree is consistently moist that is where you will find the roots. Unfortunately roots mostly on one side does not make the tree resist the wind from ALL directions very well. Al

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 9:12AM
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