Straightening saplings

Asked November 3, 2017, 4:01 PM EDT

Hello, I have a couple questions about straightening trees. Last year I planted a number of trees including a river birch. The birch has three trunks, one of which was somewhat shorter than other two when I purchased it. I oriented the shortest trunk towards the south, hoping that would allow it to catch up, however, while the two taller stems have grown roughly 3', the shorter one has grown only 1', and all of that growth is curving toward the south. I don't mind some bend, and I expected it to grow towards the sun, but if it continues in this manner, it will be bent virtually in half. I was think about staking all three trunks, so as to straighten the short one and pull the other two a bit northwards so that the shorter one gets a bit more light. Does that sound like a sound plan, and is there any particular way you would recommend going about it? I've attached pictures. It's a bit difficult to capture what is going on, but hopefully with the description, you have enough to go on. Thanks so much for your help. Sincerely,

Maryland river birch abiotic issues tree bend in trunk

1 Response

We viewed your photos and do not see anything to be concerned about. You need some bend in the trunks for a group of three. Research has shown that the natural movement of the trunk by the wind actually stimulates root growth and increases trunk size more quickly than trees held firm by staking. Continue to monitor the growth of the trees and you can send us more photos if you notice additional symptoms. Here are publications on Planting Tips for Trees and River Birch
http://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG24_Plant...
http://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG58_IPM_B...

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