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Need advice with leaning Murray Cypresses  RSS feed

 
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We planted about 20 Murray Cypresses three years ago. They have grown from about 18 inches to between 8 and 11 feet in that time. All look healthy and happy. About 2 weeks ago we had some strong winds come through that has 3 of the trees strongly leaning now. I guess we did not plant those trees correctly initially. My son took one of them out of the ground to make the hole around the roots bigger and replant. He then staked that tree. It looked good for about 3 days and now it is leaning again. I would appreciate advice on how to get these trees solidly back into the ground, standing straight. Do we stake or not stake? I have read different opinions about staking. The problem now, of course, is that these trees are rather tall, but parts of their roots were ripped when the wind pushed them sideways. So the roots diameter looks rather narrow compared to the height of the trees. I don't want to bury the trees too deep because I don't want to bury part of the trunk. Looking at the puny roots and the height of the trees, I cannot imagine how we will be able to get these trees to stand straight again and hold up. Advice would be very much appreciated.
 
Annie Collins
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I kept digging around the internet and may have found an interesting site with some useful information in general, not just for tree staking. There are interesting recipes and good information all around. https://www.dirtdoctor.com/
 
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The best method will be to help the tree grow some new roots above the current set of roots, that way the tree will have enough sub surface structure to help hold it in place over the long haul.
It is a rather major undertaking but it can be done, you will need to first mark around the trunk approx. 3" wide  x 4" tall rectangles, no cutting the bark just yet, simply make some marks equi-distant around the trunk with spray paint that is easy to see.
Next you need to either buy or make some rooting hormone so you can stimulate the tree to form the new roots where you have marked the trunk, Willow bark is a naturally occurring rooting hormone (the inner bark is where the active ingredients live).
You also will want to have a pile of soil for each tree you are going to force to form new roots on, this will end up piled around the trunk to cover the new root spots you marked with the spray paint, the soil will be what is kept moist to encourage the new root growth.
Once you are all set it is time to make some cuts in the bark and apply the rooting hormone, cover with soil, water till good and damp and start the monitoring for moisture content.

If you are going to also or instead stake the tree, you want at least three and preferably four lines around the trunk make sure the lines are well padded so they don't bite into the bark. You will be changing these out at least once a year and better would be beginning of spring, middle of summer, beginning of winter.


Hope that helps you solve your problem.
 
Annie Collins
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Thank you, Bryant, I had never heard of rooting hormone. The amount of things I have learned since being on this forum is incredible.
So the possible remedy you speak of brings to mind two questions so far:
- I assume I would mark the trunk as close on top of the roots as possible, yes?
- When would be the ideal time of year to do this? We are in zone 7a. I am thinking that it should be during a time where there is more natural root growth so that the rooting hormone gets to be put to use in a most optimal way. Now, while there is some root growth from what I have read, there isn't as much as in the spring, of course, so my thought is that by spring, a lot of the rooting hormone will have been washed away from where it was applied.
- When talking about willow bark, is there a particular type of willow I should be looking for? I would not go to a willow and cut into its bark so I guess I would look around to purchase natural rooting hormones made from willow bark?
I guess that was more than two questions. Before I embark on this, I would like to make sure I do it as optimally as possible.
Thank you very much for the detailed advice!

 
Bryant RedHawk
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Yes you make the slits just above the current roots (it is usually best to remove some of the soil at the base of the tree before you make those slits).
The ideal time to do this is early spring, just as the buds begin to swell.
The way to make willow water is to use pruned branches, that way you aren't hurting the tree since you are using the left overs from shaping up the lower part of the tree.
If you want to use a premade rooting hormone Rootone is the one I use (if you go to a nursery you might be able to get them to sell you some of their own stock instead of buying off the shelf, nurseries usually use a 6% instead of the 3% in the little red bottles)

In the willow family, all of them are easy rooters so it really doesn't matter which variety you get the cuttings for bark from.
I strip the bark from the pruned branches and cut these into two inch lengths so I can pack more into my jar, then I pour the warm (tepid) water over them so they are completely covered then put on a lid.
I shake it up and let it sit in a dark place, going back once a day to shake it up again, the brewed rooting liquid is ready after 7 days but you can keep it going for up to 14 days before pouring off the liquid (I use a fine mesh strainer) and sealing that in a fresh jar.

Make your slits about 3" long and no wider than 1/2 inch for best results.

Redhawk
 
Annie Collins
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I appreciate the advice, Bryant. I will stake the trees for now and in early spring apply the rooting hormone. Meanwhile, I will scout my neighborhood and see if I can find a willow of some sort to get a few low branches from when the time comes. I hope after all is done, my friends will stand straight once more. Thank you again!
 
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