The Q&A Archives: leaning chilean mesquite tree

Question: My chilean mesquite is leaning dangerously foward and I'm afraid the trunk will snap or become uprooted. It lost a limb in the back and has no more in this part of the tree. What can I do or is the tree doomed?

Answer: I think staking your tree upright will help anchor it into the soil and will correct the lean. The rule of thumb for staking: stake your tree so it can move slightly in the wind, the theory being that it will develop a stronger root system with this little bit of movement. Tree bark should be protected from wires and ties - short sections of old garden hose work well.

Use three stakes, equal distances apart so they form a triangle. If the tree is leaning at a sharp angle, don't try to straighten it all at once. Start by tying it with a little more pressure on the tie that controls the side you want to straighten. Wait a few weeks and tighten that tie slightly. Do this throughout the year, slowly coaxing the tree upright. Once it is upright, you can readjust the ties so there is equal tension on each.

Best wishes with your tree!

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