Shaping swamp white oak

Asked November 27, 2017, 4:45 PM EST

Hi. We bought a swamp white oak through Home Depot and unlike wild variety it appears to grow columnar. I didn’t like it at first until I saw one in a city planting and I must say I was impressed! Ours though is crooked at the top 1/3. Should we cut it back to where the trunk is straight? It also has differing side branches that makes me wonder how it will flesh out.

Randolph County Missouri horticulture

1 Response

I would put a post (called T posts at a farm store) next to the tree now and pull only the top of the tree toward the post to see if you can work that bend out over winter. You have to remember that the tree will be over 1 foot wide when it matures and most of that bend will disappear but you want to get as much out as you can while it is still moveable.
Use an old watering hose and run a small rope through it. Tie the rope to the T-Post and place the rubber hose against the tree. This will prevent any damage to the tree itself as the wind moves the line. The line should be tight enough to pull the tree toward the T-Post at the top.