A maple we planted 3 years ago had a serious growth spurt this spring and has reached about 16 feet tall. It also has grown many more leaves than in the past 2 years. After a heavy rain, the top half has bent over. Is this normal? Should I be concerned, or will it straighten up on it own?
Anne Arundel County Maryland
Be careful not to fertilize this tree. Let it grow at a normal rate, which is moderate to fast already for a maple. Over-stimulating growth equals weak growth.
If you do not see this tree spring back in a week, it will probably never be upright again without help. If that happens, you can try roping it above the bend, pulling it upright, and attaching it to a tree or pole. Do not leave the rope attached for more than a year. Also, you do not want the rope to cut into the bark. Use a very thick rope and/or snake the rope through a short piece of hose to create a cushion to protect the bark.
You may want to have a tree service company straighten the tree, since it's fairly tall. We'd recommend a company with an arborist on its staff, certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), to give advice. You can find a certified arborist near you at: treesaregood.org
They will usually assess the tree at no charge and then charge for work done.