Monday, November 16, 2020


This is something we have been meaning to ask our readers.  It is one of our two apple trees, the "Anna" variety.  It's been leaning for some time and is now not just leaning but growing in that direction as well.

I have tried just pulling on it to test how firm it is.  It's DEFINITELY growing that direction.  It's one of those things I saw when I would work on the trees and always though "hmm, I need to work on that" and then it would just get hot in the Summer or have a rainy weekend and I'd just put it off.  Now it's come back to haunt me, ha.  It leans even more now since I took the above picture.

I need to deal with it either this Winter or early next Spring.  When I drive the mower past the tree, I have to go around the area where it leans.

One time after we had a LOT of rain, I was able to pull it a bit more upright but I had nothing to tie it off to.  That's why I sort of thought, oh no biggie I can fix this easily.  I suppose the next heavy rain I can use to my advantage again but I don't want to damage roots. 

The logical solution I suppose would be to hammer a post into the ground nearby and then wrap something around it and then every weekend, tighten it a little more.  I'd have to be gentle to the tree of course.

Crooked tree, image via wikimediacommons

We just hope we don't end up with something like this, although at least this tree is finally growing upright, ha!

It provided us apples this year, our first ever, so we want to make sure we keep it happy.

Any suggestions?


  1. I would take to a reliable nursery to see what they would suggest.
    You probably could put a couple of stakes on the opposite side of the lean and try to straighten it up but do it in sections; by tightening up your straps a little bit at a time, doing it in steps instead of trying to straightening it all at once by tightening up the straps as they start to sag of loosen up.

    Oh, found this step by step / pictures on straightening up an apple tree or any tree.

  2. The trees in the photo is a "message tree" shaped and bent that way as a "We went this way" tree

    1. I've never heard it called so, but that makes total sense to me!

  3. i just had tree huge trees taken down today because they were leaning. one was hanging right over my new shed.

  4. So this was not uncommon when I grew up ... for probably a variety of reasons... Most common "fix" was a 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 with a good size V cut into the end of it... wide part of the V towards the end.... then just wedge it into the soil (we had h a r d soil) or against another shorter stake driven into the ground ... I'm drawing this in the air with my hand. Hope you can tell... so the long 2by was putting gentalish pressure against the upper trunk of the tree... Occasionally when by the tree, we'd wiggle and see if still tight or if not, push away on the trunk and let the timber go down just a bit to make more pressure again ... gradually ... It seems to me we had some fully mature trees that still had a "crutch"... Seems we sometimes put a piece of tire or carpet into the V to soften it where it touched the bark of the tree so it didn't create a groove or scar... though probably not totally necessary as you see bicycles or cars even up in trees where the tree has grown around the vehicle. For what it's worth. Oh.. the longer board was about at 45 degrees.... give or take.... and if there was a branch handy at the top where it met the board it gave it more stop there to keep it from slipping.

  5. Consider running this by a good nursery.

  6. I think you have a good idea with the post in the ground and tighten the wrap gradually. I have done this with several trees, although not as bent as yours.

  7. I'm interested in following this as we have a peach tree doing the lean thing too.. I've seen the 2x4 with a notch support thing here in MI and was leaning (HA!) toward using that method. I've also seen the strap pulling method. Usually that's done with strong cable with a section of strong garden hose against the tree to protect it from being damaged.

  8. I suppose you could prop it up, but you have been going for a curated look, so the 2x4 prop will spoil the esthetic.
    It's a young tree that's only been in the ground a year or two - I would dig up the rootball and re-position it now (fall is the best time), and then use guidelines padded with rubber to reinforce the upright growth.
    I have a small orchard; I can tell you from experience that fully fruited branches can weight down the branches heavily. Your wonky tree will not be pretty the way you have intended, and fruited branches may well break off, or even break the already leaning tree, without counterbalance.

  9. I had a tree that had a lean. I tied it to a fence to keep it upright, hoping it would eventually tighten up. It was leaning away from the fence that was about 12 feet away, so the fence was not in the way. I tried everything--propping board against it, three ties to stakes, etc. Several people advised me and helped do the hard work. After ten years, that tree met its demise when I invited a guy and his saw to come and solve the problem. I say...give up. Get another tree and dig the whole into the ground not just into loose dirt of the surrounding dirt in the box. I wasted mental energy.

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