• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
  • Joseph Lofthouse
stewards:
  • Mike Jay
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Devaka Cooray
garden masters:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Dave Burton
  • Dan Boone
gardeners:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
  • Mike Barkley

Man down! Need assist - stat! (apple tree emergency)

 
pollinator
Posts: 187
Location: Piedmont 7a
53
hugelkultur trees woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
OK, not a man, an apple tree, and not all the way down, just halfway, and sorry for the click bait - don’t you hate that?  But I really do have a tree emergency - just noticed one leaning waaaaay over, presumably for yesterday’s high winds. I have been nursing this one along for five years, it finally has a good showing of apples, and now this.

Probably my fault for leaving it in a cage too long (finally took off late this winter - lots of deer pressure here) so maybe the roots didn’t do their thing as they would have if I had used the STUN method.

Anyway, should I stand it back up and tie to the stake?  All at once?  Little by little?  Advices please!
C0B944BF-4033-460C-AB7A-159F7C636F61.jpeg
[Thumbnail for C0B944BF-4033-460C-AB7A-159F7C636F61.jpeg]
Apple tree down
 
gardener
Posts: 2029
Location: West Tennessee
518
cat purity trees books chicken food preservation cooking building homestead
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Artie, if it were my tree, I'd stand it back up right away and tie it off in 3 equal directions. Let's assume a root or two broke, trees can respond with prompt new root growth, and that really needs to happen with the tree in it's final upright position so as these new roots spread out over the next growing season or two they provide good anchoring. Even if no roots were damaged due to the tree leaning like this, it's evidence that the tree cannot support itself and needs to be tied down so as roots grow, they will be the new anchors.
 
pollinator
Posts: 132
Location: Western central Illinois, Zone 6a
45
hunting trees solar wood heat rocket stoves ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If it's not, I'd saturate the ground as much as reasonably possible to soften it up and then push it back into place, gently. If it feels like you're fighting something then stop. I have a feeling it will push right back into place, especially if the soil is saturated so the roots can shift and move a little easier.

Tie it off and hope for the best. If it's tipped like that, the damage may be done in the roots.
 
gardener
Posts: 838
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
219
duck books chicken cooking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you've got a "come-along" (AKA ratchet puller) and a place to anchor it, you could saturate the soil as suggested, and then crank it up a little bit each day for a week if doing it all at once seems like it's putting too much stress on things.

If you have been watering this young tree, may I suggest future water be further away from the trunk in all directions, but particularly in the direction of the prevalent winds, in an effort to "encourage" the tree to stretch its roots further? I get that sometimes you just want fruit and can't afford the time, deer protection etc to plant enough that STUN works for us. That said, I've weaned trees off extra care by watering deeply and infrequently.

Along those lines, yes, you could tie it evenly in the short term. As a weaning process, I'd make lines that can be easily loosened and once things are stable again, consider loosening them to give the tree some movement (which is what encourages strength) but be prepared to tie it tighter if the forecast calls for ridiculous!

Hope these ideas help and good luck!
 
pioneer
Posts: 945
Location: 4b
152
dog forest garden trees bee building
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I had one do almost exactly that. I pounded a pipe in the ground about 8 feet from the tree,  tied a towel in a loose circle around the tree,  tied a rope to the towel. Then i wrapped the free end of the rope around the pipe and pulled until the tree was straight.  Once it was straight again, I tied the rope off on the pipe.  That was two years ago and the tree is fine.

I did it one other time,  and I tied the towel around the tree above a couple big branches. I pulled so hard it tore one of the branches off that was as big a my wrist,  so be careful where you tie the towel.
 
Artie Scott
pollinator
Posts: 187
Location: Piedmont 7a
53
hugelkultur trees woodworking
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You guys rock!  Thank you so much for the great ( and super fast!) advice!  

I did just stand it up all at once as suggested, and it went up pretty easy. I never would have thought of saturating the ground first - what a great idea!

Jay, interesting point on the watering - other than the day I put them in, I have not watered them at all!  But, I did construct hugel berms uphill of each tree on contour to keep them hydrated - is it possible they were TOO effective?  

Some additional photos here - after clearing away weeds, and an interesting look at the base of the tree. Are the roots rotting? And temporary bracing - I will redo this with the posts in a triangle I think, and maybe use panty hose to go around the trunk vice rope?  Have heard that is better?  Just need to find some - not in my typical wardrobe!  

Also, whoever edited the title for clarity, thank you - my bad judgement for making it read like a medical emergency. Obviously wasn’t thinking, my apologies.
114212AB-FF96-4485-9D87-A0FAD4A64AA8.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 114212AB-FF96-4485-9D87-A0FAD4A64AA8.jpeg]
Cleared around base
F71D1EF9-56B2-4417-8DF2-2A8BD338E5AA.jpeg
[Thumbnail for F71D1EF9-56B2-4417-8DF2-2A8BD338E5AA.jpeg]
Angle of tree
5B44B389-9753-4B59-AEA5-8BE1DD9ADF4B.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 5B44B389-9753-4B59-AEA5-8BE1DD9ADF4B.jpeg]
Base of tree
FD9A756A-FC04-496B-B76C-41B2593A452E.jpeg
[Thumbnail for FD9A756A-FC04-496B-B76C-41B2593A452E.jpeg]
Standing tall again
 
Jay Angler
gardener
Posts: 838
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
219
duck books chicken cooking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Artie Scott wrote:

I did construct hugel berms uphill of each tree on contour to keep them hydrated - is it possible they were TOO effective?  

Not enough info - did they fall away from the hugel berm or toward? Was the storm that toppled the tree significantly above average force?

Certainly if the tree roots are waterlogged too much of the time, they will rot. If there's too much moisture on one side, and that's the side the tree would be blown to, the roots might not support the whole tree evenly. If the soil is too rich, the tree may have grown too fast to be really strong. Did you have it tied to the rebar, or was that just fencing to keep the deer away? I try not to tie a new tree up unless there's a very good reason and even then I try to keep it temporary - trees need swaying and movement.

Congratulations of getting it upright. Hopefully you can heal whatever ails it.
 
Artie Scott
pollinator
Posts: 187
Location: Piedmont 7a
53
hugelkultur trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jay, the tree fell roughly parallel to the hugel berm; it was a strong wind from the southwest, and it fell to the northeast. I had staked them for the first couple of years, but I did that a couple of years ago. However, the cage was providing significant support to the tree as it for larger - you can kinda see how the branches are growing more upright than outward. Clearly should have freed them from their cages sooner, and maybe retired them to the stakes for a bit, and gradually loosening as suggested.

Still, I wonder if something else is going on; after five years I would have thought the roots would be more developed. The soil is actually fairly poor.
 
garden master
Posts: 790
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
207
hugelkultur forest garden fish trees food preservation cooking bee homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Looks good Artie.

What variety of apple is it?
 
Jay Angler
gardener
Posts: 838
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
219
duck books chicken cooking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you don't think the roots are too wet, but think the soil might be poor, the same idea works  - dig some holes 5 ft or so from the trunk and put some compost/chopped and dropped weeds/urine/etc in the holes so the roots will go searching.

Is this a grafted tree? If it's grafted on "miniature" root stock, some of those trees are designed to be babied their entire life. Modern orchards aren't anything like 100 yr old ones. The trees are permanently staked, fertilized, watered and not allowed to get taller than a man can pick. I do have one like that - an espalied Nashi pear so no need for too much fruit - and I still have trained it to only be watered every two weeks during the drought, but I didn't want anything that would shade the area north of it, so I chose accordingly.
 
Artie Scott
pollinator
Posts: 187
Location: Piedmont 7a
53
hugelkultur trees woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Steve, if my planting notes are accurate, that tree is an Aunt Rachael, a North Carolina variety.

Jay, the rootstock is semi-dwarf MM111 rootstock - not sure if that is what you meant by miniature?  Or were you referring to dwarf?
 
Jay Angler
gardener
Posts: 838
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
219
duck books chicken cooking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes, I meant dwarf. I'm no botanist, but I do know that they tend to graft trees with characteristics we like onto different roots, and around here, many commercial orchards have moved to dwarf encouraging roots stocks. It used to be more that they grafted onto to sturdier, robust root-stocks like quince for apple trees, but modern "industrial" orchards want the trees to stay small and easy to manage, as do some home-owners who don't want big trees in their yard. I'm sure there are whole scales for where trees fit in the continuum but that's way beyond my knowledge set. A friend who bought one had to use posts to hold up every branch when she didn't thin the fruit and the poor little trees was in danger of breaking every branch!
 
Artie Scott
pollinator
Posts: 187
Location: Piedmont 7a
53
hugelkultur trees woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Status update:  condition, guarded. Full traction.

As you can see, my poor Aunt Rachel is looking worse for the wear. Any suggestions for a booster under the circumstances??
C84FD2D0-0D36-4AE8-BBE1-2EBA217AA5F8.jpeg
[Thumbnail for C84FD2D0-0D36-4AE8-BBE1-2EBA217AA5F8.jpeg]
 
master steward
Posts: 9025
Location: Pacific Northwest
3373
hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jay Angler wrote:If you don't think the roots are too wet, but think the soil might be poor, the same idea works  - dig some holes 5 ft or so from the trunk and put some compost/chopped and dropped weeds/urine/etc in the holes so the roots will go searching.



I bury my meaty/fat/rotten-egg scraps the same way. It really seems to help the trees I bury it by, and I don't have to toss the meat in the trash!
 
Jay Angler
gardener
Posts: 838
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
219
duck books chicken cooking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I know that as a general permaculture rule, letting a tree form its own shape and not pruning is the better route, but you've got a tree that's in trouble so you might consider if there are a few branches that are clearly healthier than others, pruning off some that are less healthy in the hopes that the rest will survive. I know that popular management is to prune if the roots get disturbed, which your tree has certainly experienced. The trouble is that I'm not sure that popular management is accurate, and that your tree might be better left to STUN at this point.

I would consider if it has set any fruit that you remove it or it is likely to put all its strength into the fruit "future gene pool" and none into healing itself.

I'm also not sure at this point whether by messing with the tree more, will you be setting yourself up to long-term babying while you wean it off the assistance you're giving it. If you feel you're up to a multi-year commitment of weaning, pruning could be worth it. We bought a house with existing fruit trees that were used to frequent relatively short watering. It took 5 years, but now I only do a single slow over-night water in August if we're having a particularly bad drought year and I just accept the fruit they give graciously. Two of the trees generally produce well, but the 3rd tends to produce every second year. I will accept that if it means I don't have to spend effort watering, but it took time to get it to that point.

Good luck whatever path you choose!
 
Artie Scott
pollinator
Posts: 187
Location: Piedmont 7a
53
hugelkultur trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Really good point Jay, it does have apples on it. I suppose I knew, but really didn’t want to think about, needing to take off the baby apples. Have waited a long time for my trees to begin apple-ing, but you are right, if it dies, no more apples on that one ever.
 
pollinator
Posts: 869
Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
154
hugelkultur forest garden hunting chicken food preservation bee
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Artie,

The little rootlets coming off above the root look like air roots. It's too wet IMO, based on that picture. I plant apples above the hugels, they are plants from a relatively dry climate in central asia. Sounds like the correct rootstock for mid-atlantic clay. Most of mine are M111.
 
Posts: 649
Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
50
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Since that young tree has gone through a stiff wind (that alone sometimes makes leaves stressed) and being blown over and being uprighted, it's pretty stressed.  Before you start cutting branches you might want to consider a foliar spray for stress, hold off on any more water in the soil.   The soil looks pretty wet, and that, too, can make leaves turn yellow and drop.   The yellowed leaves will most likely drop, but if the branches resprout leaves, then it was just a stress reaction.  

If any tree is going to be in major winds a couple times a year, then trimming it to help it withstand strong gusts would help it.   Any branches growing towards the center, etc.  Room for the wind to go through the tree, around the central leader.

SoilFoodWeb has a lot of info on brewing up a tea for stress that can be sprayed on the leaves.

It could probably also use about an inch of compost out 18" around the trunk, covered with leave/mowed weed mulch about 3" thick.  

Apples are tough, unless it's got other issues, it will pull through this.
 
Cristo Balete
Posts: 649
Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
50
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
About staking, poles or stakes should be 5-6 feet away from the drip line of a tree so they don't chop through any roots as they are put in.

Picture the root system on most trees as a mirror image of what's above ground.  Some shallow-rooted trees like pines are not as deep as they may be tall, but they are quite wide.  But fruit trees tend to go quite deep.

Any guy wires, as mentioned above, should be slack in an everyday breeze so the trunk can sway a few inches, which makes it stronger.   Then they would tighten in a stiff wind.  

Even a mature, healthy 150-foot tree can go over in a stuff wind with high mph gusts if the soil is saturated.
 
Yeast devil! Back to the oven that baked you! And take this tiny ad too:
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work
https://permies.com/wiki/bootcamp
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!