Ask a Consulting Arborist Q&A: Tree Care Tips (Pruning, Water, and More)

Q: How can I straighten birch trees without hurting them?

Monday, January 04, 2016  

Q: I have a nest of four birch trees that have been bent due to snow and wind. Is it possible to straighten them by using a come along? The biggest tree is probably no more than 8-10" in diameter at the base. Once straightened, I was thinking that I could wrap a cable 10-12' above the ground around the circumference of all four trees and protect them with canvas so that the cable doesn't cut into them? Is this possible?

A: I straighten bent birch trees pretty regularly. Gray birch (Betula populifolia) is usually the patient. A little proper weight reduction pruning in the tops and proper cabling techniques will have them looking good as new. I would caution against just wrapping cable around the tree, as this will just girdle the tree eventually. Pay to have a professional do it correctly.

Responder: Dennis Panu, RCA #396, Thompson, CT