How to Brace a Large Leaning Tree

Learning how to brace a large leaning tree is a useful skill for any gardener. 

G&V Tree Service Inc. is a leading provider of excellent tree services in Falls Church. Below, the team explains more about tree anchoring as they provide tips for the staking and bracing process. 

Common Leaning Tree Causes That You Shouldn’t Ignore

Before you can fix an unstable tree, you need to know the cause. It’s best to correct the underlying issue before anchoring the tree, or you may soon find it leaning over again. 

Some of the possible reasons for a tree that’s leaning include the following:

  1. A poorly developed root system
  2. Unstable soil
  3. Saturated soil
  4. Ongoing, strong winds
  5. Poor planting techniques

However, if you’re unsure of the reason, you can always call a tree care specialist for professional recommendations and services.

The Best Time to Brace a Leaning Tree May Change

When reading more about trees, you learn they’re resilient. However, if your tree is starting to lean, it needs help as soon as possible. Why not add a brace for stability? 

It’s far easier to stake your tree when the soil is friable and moist. In Falls Church, this is usually during spring or summer. If you need to stake a tree during the fall or when the ground is dry, water deeply before you start.

Here’s how a professional arborist will stake and brace a tree:

Step 1: Place the Stakes

The first step in learning how to brace a large leaning tree is knowing where to put the support pieces. 

  1. Position two or three stakes upwind of the tree to protect it.
  2. Place the stakes evenly at a 45-degree angle (with the heads pointing toward the trunk). 
  3. Drive the stakes into the ground using a mallet until they are about 18 inches deep. 

These angles and depths provide the best possible support.

Step 2: Straighten Your Tree

Why does the ground need to be moist for this process? Shoving the tree back into position moves the roots! The bigger the plant, the more difficult this task becomes, so consider getting help. 

Step 3: Anchor the Tree

Straps at any hardware or gardening supply store should wrap around the tree, so don’t risk damaging the tree by wrapping wire around its trunk. Instead, feed the wire through the holes in the strap and secure the other end to the stake.

Is your tree small? Use a nylon stocking to tie it up instead. 

Whatever material you use shouldn’t cut into the bark. The following options should be okay:

  1. Specialist straps
  2. Canvas
  3. Garden hose
  4. Burlap 

With the straps in place, move on to positioning the ropes low enough so that the canopy sways in the wind but not the trunk. The sweet spot is usually just under the first set of branches. Tie the rope or wire tightly, but allow the trunk a little room to move.

Remember to Let the Tree Stabilize

So, how long do arborists recommend leaving the anchors in place? Let them stay there until the tree stabilizes fully, which should take at least a year. Keep the supports in for one growing season at a minimum, check the tension regularly, and ensure your tree has the right balance of support and flexibility.

Contact G&V Tree Service Inc. for the Right Tree Advice!

Now that you know how to brace a large leaning tree, why not learn how to prune one or dispel some common tree myths? You could also skip the queue and schedule a consultation with one of our experienced arboriculture professionals in Falls Church and the surrounding areas in Virginia. 

Call G&V Tree Service Inc. at (703) 337-3080 today!