Wednesday, June 30, 2021


You may recall that one of our apple trees is leaning.  Like really leaning.  We've tried pulling it straight but it's firmly in a lean and doesn't want to budge and we risk damaging or breaking the trunk.  I guess we shouldn't say it's leaning as leaning implies it can be pulled upright.  It's GROWING in a lean.

It seemed it was too late to pull it upright because it appeared to be happy growing this way and we hated to just cut it down and dig it up.  The roots are very well established (and probably deep) and that might be hard on a new tree in the same spot.  The picture above was taken a week or two after it had leafed out for Spring.

We noticed that in the lean, there was a lot of weight in the form of branches on that side.  We decided the best option was to "embrace the lean" and so I pruned it.

That took off all the weight on the opposite side.  If you notice the "center" branches, they are straight as can be and very tall and it looks much better since this photo was taken.  This tree was also covered in blooms at the time and we knew that with such a heavy pruning, we risked losing the fruit crop this season.  However, we'd rather have lost some than lose the tree that has grown so well for us.  

It might not work in the end, but for now we are willing to try.  Our hope is that by removing the weight on that side, it will continue to grow straight upright and we can gently lock in that trunk so that it will just start growing up with a curve on the trunk.  I'm going to rig up a method to brace the trunk using the side of the bed and then counter that with a gentle pulling from the other side around the trunk and to the post there...all padded and gentle on the tree itself of course.

That should keep it from being pulled only from one side or pushed only from the other side.  We're just hoping they balance out and it will continue growing straight up as it has been.

Hey we already have fruit, so far so good!
And stay tuned for a very special post about it!


  1. I've seen other trees lean. That one seems happy about its decision to head in that direction.


  2. Gentle coaxing may work quite well. Will be interesting to see how it grows!

  3. This tree definitely has its own idea about how to grow!

  4. Looks like it was leaning to get more sun. Sometimes trees just have a mind of their own and then again strong winds during a storm may have caused it to start leaning; little by little.
    The branch with the elbow on left side may need to be cut off - just to get the weight off that side, and then just maybe the tree will grow more upright.

    Received 1/2 inch of rain yesterday.
    Take care and have a great week. My best to Hobart and 2nd Man
    'Today Is A Good Day To Have A Good Day'

  5. I had a tree that leaned like that! I even tied it to a chain link fence to hold it upright. When pushing the tree, it wiggled in the ground. I blame the lean on the guy who dug and filled in around the tree. I finally cut it because it leaned so that one could not get past the house. The rope tying it to the frame of the fence impeded walking on the other side of the tree, so I gave up and had someone cut it. I hope you have better luck.

  6. Your bracing pole we used to call a crutch ... and was not unusual especially in older apple trees... I don't know why ... I just remember seeing them "way back then". Good luck!!

  7. Recently I was reading about "pollarding" trees to increase their usefulness. Apparently it has been a common practice for thousands of years. I think it is sometimes called coppicing as well. Here is a link to a video of a guy with a very similar apple tree, leaning like yours. It is a technique that may be worth considering for your tree in future.


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