Bending Pine Trees

Asked April 18, 2016, 3:11 PM EDT

I live in mid Michigan (Midland county) in the middle of a woods with very sandy soil. On the other side of the road is an old pine tree forest all in rows. I've planted alot of pine trees over the years on my side of the road from the conservation office program, and replanted some that were growing in a large drainage ditch across from the pine forest. Well only about 50% have survived and of that 50% probably 90% are still less than 3' tall. However the successful ones are/were over 20' tall and filling out fast, but in the last year they started to lean, and now they are at 90 degrees. The look like a sideways L. They were still growing fine but literally coming out of the ground. One I could bend back and tie it down but 3 others so far I have had to cut down and many more are just breaking. One of the trees had black circles in straight rows and columns. Would you know what is causing this. Granted the heavy snow had some effect, but a couple of these tress were quite large. I planted all these trees about 10 years ago or longer and it has not affected any of the spruce trees I've planted (which seem to be thriving). Please let me know what you think. My email is Thank you.
Brian Reetz

Calhoun County Michigan

1 Response

Pines will grow at an angle if planted too close to other trees. The new growth bends to the light and gradually the whole plant leans. The straight rows of black holes is caused by a woodpecker. This is very common on pines and it will disrupt flow of water up the tree and often the top snaps off. You are correct that heavy snow can bend a tree and it may never fully straighten. Other than heavy snow, planting too close to other trees and excessively high winds are factors that cause trees to lean.