I have a pecan tree that is about 6 years old that is growing about 5 degrees off vertical. I've tried to stake it several times but to little effect. Currently I have a ratchet strap trying to pull it straight (with little effect) but my question is:

Is there an effective and safe way to straighten an older tree?

I don't want to hurt the tree or waste my time if this is futile.

Most of the advice is talking about straightening new trees but this tree has a diameter of about 2.5 to 3 inches.

  • I'd go with futile. I do have a plum of significant size/age that changed its angle this winter (Ice storm on top, saturated unfrozen ground around the roots, over it went) but that was away from vertical, and I very much doubt I'll get it to go back to vertical. I haven't really tried much, since I expect I'd do more damage than leaving it be. You could try pulling the very top where it's flexible back to an imaginary line, perhaps, but I don't think you'll move any section of rigid trunk without breaking something.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 10, 2015 at 1:14
  • If it really bothers you and you don't mind possibly loosing it, you could dig out underneath one side. You'd be cutting through those roots. When the tree pivots straight on the hinge created by the roots on the other side, you can back fill it and it'll be straight. The roots on the other side should provide enough nutrients. You need to stake at least 3 lines to it to hold it in place. From the size you described, it should be small enough to do this.
    – Dalton
    Apr 17, 2015 at 14:36

1 Answer 1


Theoretically, you could hire a tree spade to dig it out and replant is straight, but I don't think it's worth it. And tying it back isn't going to work well. I'd say leave it, or take it out and put in another if it really, really bothers you, and you don't want to hire someone with a tree spade.

  • Agreed, being a pecan it's a hard hardwood and it's not going to assume a new shape without a few years of hardening to the new shape. It won't hurt anything to grow 5 deg off vertical. It's growing that way for a reason. Trees reach for whatever light they can get.
    – Escoce
    Apr 10, 2015 at 13:48
  • thx... this confirms what I suspected anyway... And nah, doesn't bother me that much,
    – Rikon
    Apr 10, 2015 at 15:59

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