Can You Save A Leaning Tree?

A leaning tree poses a major hazard to your property, so you need to attend to it before it falls over. The following can help you determine whether you can save the tree or if removal is the best course of action.

Root Health

Trees can begin to lean for many reasons, but often the problem is with the roots. Either the root system is too small to properly support the tree or the roots have become damaged or diseased and are no longer able to anchor properly. A tree service will assess the health of the root system. If the roots ball is too small, the canopy may require extensive pruning to bring it down to a size the roots can support. On the other hand, if disease or rot has caused extensive damage to the roots, then removal may be the only option.

Trunk Status

The state of the trunk also determines whether it is worthwhile to save a tree. If the trunk is relatively straight and healthy, then there is little concern with righting the tree when it comes to the trunk. A trunk that is split, suffers from heartwood rot, or that twists and curves will likely just fall over again, so removal is better than trying to save the tree. Split trunks can include those that split due to trauma, as well as trees that have multiple main trunks due to poor early pruning.

Site Concerns

The site includes both the location where the tree is planted as well as the soil in which it is growing. It makes more sense to try and right a tree that won't cause major damage if it still falls over, so generally leaning trees are only saved if they are in no danger of falling on a house or other structure. As for soil, it's important that the tree is provided with enough soil depth and area to support the root system it needs to support the trunk and canopy. If the soil area is restricted due to underground structures or if the soil is too thin and poor to support a tree, removal should be considered.

Anchoring Ability

The final consideration is purely mechanical — can the tree be safely righted and then anchored securely so it doesn't lean again? Smaller trees are much more simple to anchor with stakes and line compared to large trees. Larger trees may require winching to bring them upright, which can damage the trunk and roots. Once upright, they will need to be cabled to a strong support, which could be a neighboring tree or a large post. If there is no way to safely anchor the tree, then it must be removed.

Contact a tree removal service as soon as you notice a leaning tree. They can help you determine the best course of action when it comes to saving or removing the tree.