The Q&A Archives: Weeping Willow distress

Question: My son ran over my weeping willow with our four wheeler. The tree is about three years old...and it's probably 8 or 9 feet tall. It's a yellow weeping willow. Anyways, when he ran over it, he pushed it over. It didn't give all the way b/c the tree is pretty darn stout. But, now it won't stand there by itself! I have a rope tied to it now and staked. Is there anything else that I can do to save my tree?

Answer: I think I'd properly stake the tree until it will stand upright by itself. It's possible that the run-in caused some root damage and it will take time for the damaged roots to be replaced and the tree to be strong enough to stand upright by itself. The best way to stake a tree is to use 3 sturdy stakes (steel or wood, depending upon your soil type). Use wire and loop it from the stake, around the tree trunk at mid- to upper-trunk level, and back to the stake. Do this on all 3 stakes so there is equal pressure on the trunk from all three. Be sure to use a length of rubber tubing on the wire to protect the trunk from being gouged and don't pull the wires too tight. Just gentle pressure from all three directions should keep the tree upright without causing damage to the trunk. Check the wires every few weeks and loosen them if the wires and tubing seem to be making pressure marks on the trunk. You may have to keep the tree staked for 2-3 years.

Best wishes with your willow!

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