Earlier this year I was given and planted a few oak saplings. I've noticed that one has a significant curve. The trunk comes straight up out of the ground and curves sideways. The new growth since it was planted is going straight up, but it is not centered above the base. This means the sapling as a bit of an S-shape to it. It's still quite small, about a quarter inch in diameter at the base and two feet tall.

I'm worried that as the tree grows it could have problems because of the weight being off-center. Is this a situation that calls for some kind of intervention, or should I leave it alone? If I should do something, what should I do?

an oak sapling with a curve in the trunk

2 Answers 2


The city planted an S shaped oak a few blocks away 10 years ago. If it were straight, it'd be 15 feet tall, but top weight has made the curve worse. Now the apex is only four feet off the ground. If you don't get the bend under control soon, you will never have a decent tree. I doubt staking would be satisfactory here, perhaps a stiff, straight pipe up to the crotch? You'll need to pick which of those two branches you want as the trunk too, a crotch that low will cause problems, especially since someone trimmed the main stem. You'll probably want to wait a few years before trimming the extra stem, as It's still a pretty small oak.


It's a tiny tree; as long as it has decent overhead light and can grow upwards it should sort itself out. What you should do is clear around it a 1 to 1.2 metre diameter circle free of all vegetation. Mulch that circle if you like, but keep it free of other plants. That way your little tree isn't competing for water and nutrients with the surrounding vegetation. If you have a browsing animal problem (rabbits, deer, etc), use a spiral tree guard.

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