Ask a Question forum: Is all hope lost for my bent Blue Spruce?

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Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
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keithp2012
Feb 5, 2016 1:59 PM CST
Two years ago it was very stunted and barely growing. I realized it wasn't getting proper nutrition and so after I fixed that it has grown very fast and gotten it's "blue" coloring.
Last night we had heavy rain which turned into freezing rain then straight to a heavy, wet snow. I woke up to find my Blue Spruce completely bent and pinned to the ground! It's 12 feet tall so fairly large.
I removed as much snow as I could to free it but after doing so the trunk is severely bent, but not damaged or cracked. But the tree is sideways now 😥 To make things worse the tree that shaded it all these years broke, so with the quick, leggy growth and then this heavy snow dumped on it, I was aware it could lead to disaster.

Will it straighten out in a few days or will I be forced to cut it down? It's 30 years old and I was hoping not to cut it but I can't leave it like this.
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[Last edited by keithp2012 - Feb 5, 2016 2:01 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Feb 5, 2016 3:08 PM CST
There is some internal damage or the tree wouldn't still be bent. But the damage isn't too severe or you would see something on the outside: vertical splits or horizontal wrinkles in the bark. I think your best hope is to tie a rope that is padded (so it doesn't further damage the trunk) around it above the bend and pull it straight. Then you can secure the other end the rope to the ground or another tree. If possible, give it a splint against the trunk to keep it from moving too much. Eventually the tree will re-grow the damaged cells in the trunk and it will stand straight by itself.

Its a pretty tree with 30 years of effort into it. Don't give up.

Daisy
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America Winter Sowing Plays in the sandbox Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Tomato Heads
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keithp2012
Feb 5, 2016 3:22 PM CST
DaisyI said:There is some internal damage or the tree wouldn't still be bent. But the damage isn't too severe or you would see something on the outside: vertical splits or horizontal wrinkles in the bark. I think your best hope is to tie a rope that is padded (so it doesn't further damage the trunk) around it above the bend and pull it straight. Then you can secure the other end the rope to the ground or another tree. If possible, give it a splint against the trunk to keep it from moving too much. Eventually the tree will re-grow the damaged cells in the trunk and it will stand straight by itself.

Its a pretty tree with 30 years of effort into it. Don't give up.

Daisy


The fence behind it is broken and trying to bend the tree is very difficult, I don't know if rope will even hold it from all the resistance!

I just checked as the tree straightened out slightly, there are two bends, in the trunk and high up around 9-10 feet. The trunk I pushed and it's a little better, but the top of the tree I cannot do that, and I have nothing to tie that to if its that high up. I'm going to wait and see if anything improves naturally for now.

Also, this tree has had issues from the start. Planted against the fence in the past made the trunk bent until I tried fixing it many years later, but not bent this bad. Second, it was growing under another large tree it's whole life. It never experienced the motion of wind or snow falling on it, which causes trees to grow strong trunks and handle the elements. My trees structure is weak because of this, and with its protection from wind and snow gone it's easily prone to damage.
[Last edited by keithp2012 - Feb 5, 2016 4:26 PM (+)]
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Name: Rob Duval
Mason, New Hampshire (Zone 5b)
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robertduval14
Feb 5, 2016 7:13 PM CST

Plants Admin

To be perfectly honest...if a customer called my landscaping company for this tree, I'd likely recommend cutting it down or pulling it out. Roping it straight *could* work but that bend is about as extreme as you are gonna get with that type of tree without it breaking or even uprooting (Did it uproot at all?).

If you do attempt to rope it, for the 'padding' Daisy mentioned, I often use a section of old garden hose that I'll cut down it's length. This way nothing cuts through the bark of the tree while it's under tension. If done right, I promise that rope will hold it...you would be amazed. I usually drive in a fresh, notched metal stake to tie the tree off to. That too, can be an issue if the ground is frozen however (most of this type of work gets done in spring, unless an emergency). Sometimes it take using more than one tie off and in more than one direction as well.

My thinking on the particular tree is this...it's lean is so extreme that you may get it to straighten some...but it's most likely going to develop some odd shaping and branch growth.

Whichever way you decide to go, I wish you the best of luck.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Feb 5, 2016 7:38 PM CST
I'd give it a chance for at least this season to see how it responds to whatever you try. We have a Douglas fir that was compromised I think when a large bird sat on its top. It bent the top at about a 90 degree angle, too high up for us to reach it. Over the years, it gradually straightened itself out, although it still has a great big wowie to it. I kind of like it. Adds character.
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Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America Winter Sowing Plays in the sandbox Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Tomato Heads
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keithp2012
Feb 6, 2016 1:12 AM CST
I'm wondering if a tree service has the tools to properly secure the tree straight for me, can this wait to do until late spring (may) or must it be done now? The weather presents a big issue and if we get more snow who knows if the tree will have more issues...
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Feb 6, 2016 11:32 AM CST
Keith,

The sooner you get to it the better but waiting until May is probably okay. You want to tackle this problem before the tree starts to grow; you don't want the bend to be permanent. You can also use an old piece of carpet for padding. It bends better than hose.

Daisy
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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eclayne
Feb 6, 2016 11:49 AM CST

Plants Admin

If your ground is too frozen to stake it and tie it off you can prop it up with a 2x and cross piece as a temporary fix.
Evan
Name: Rob Duval
Mason, New Hampshire (Zone 5b)
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robertduval14
Feb 6, 2016 5:35 PM CST

Plants Admin

keithp2012 said:I'm wondering if a tree service has the tools to properly secure the tree straight for me


They would not be much of a tree company if they did not, quite frankly.

Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America Winter Sowing Plays in the sandbox Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Tomato Heads
Vegetable Grower Garden Photography Hybridizer Spiders! Annuals Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
keithp2012
Feb 6, 2016 5:42 PM CST
robertduval14 said:

They would not be much of a tree company if they did not, quite frankly.



And add it's winter is why I was doubtful. I'll still browse and see if anyone is able to help.
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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Cinta
Feb 6, 2016 6:19 PM CST
I agree with save the tree. This happened to me so many times through the years and I just pounded a stake in the ground and straightened it up right.

If it is because the weight of snow and ice it will even straighten itself up this Spring just not straight as it should be. That happened to me too. I did not straighten it up right and it raised when the sun and rain came in the spring but it was not straight it leaned a little.

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