The Q&A Archives: Tying Branches

Question: We have what we belive is a flowering plum in front of our house. Some of the large branches are drooping very low. I want to tie them up, but don't want to hurt the plant. What's the best way to do this?

Answer: If the branches are drooping, is it because of the weight of branches and leaves, or are the limbs damaged where they meet the trunk? If it's a question of too much weight, you may want to prune some of the branches off to relieve the stress. If the limbs are damaged where they meet the trunk, they may have to be removed, as well. Tying branches up is not a good idea. Any material you use would eventually cut into the bark and girdle the limb or branch, cutting off the natural flow of fluids. In commercial orchards, temporary support is used to help hold up branches that are heavily laden with fruit. These supports are basically 2x4's propped under the branches. If you can determine why the branches of your tree are drooping, you might be able to fix the underlying cause. Perhaps you'll need to consult a local arborist to give you some on-site advice.

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