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This tree was planted in May 2011 in Dallas, Texas. Unfortunately the month or so following were some of the windiest we've had and all of the leaves it had at the time were blown off and the tree bent somewhat in the direction of the wind.

Since then, the side of the tree that took the brunt of that wind has never grown its leaves back. Each year it has looked a little better, but it is still obviously flawed.

What can be done about this? Are the limbs dead and should they be pruned? Rotating it would give the bare side more light if that would help.

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  • Sometimes the only cure is a chainsaw and replant. Limbs are dead, will take fornever for them to come back. – Fiasco Labs May 18 '14 at 23:22
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    I agree this tree will never be symmetrical for a long long time. For the price of removal and and a new one you could be enjoying a nice tree this fall or looking at a sad one for twenty years. – kevinsky May 19 '14 at 3:29
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The areas without leaves are dead. If you want to save the tree, cut them back to green growing limbs. Oak trees can be very resilient, and it might pull through, but regrowth will be slow, and it will probably never catch up to a normal tree. Also, borers will be a concern, with all the wounds left by the saw. Rotating a tree of that size will put it in transplant shock, and not really help at all in the long-term health of the tree. This recovery could take some time, but is definitely possible.

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How long has that tree been staked? It looks like it has been years...The trunk actually thickens above the hoses...sigh. I would unshackle the poor thing and prune out all dead branches as well as all small-diameter healthy branches. This will allow the wind to blow through the tree, otherwise, as long as this tree has been staked...a breeze will blow this tree over. Take the leader down to the third healthy branch, making a healthy branch the new leader...perhaps facing the direction of the bare side. It will straighten as it grows...is there a circle with mulch like your other little tree on the other side of the fire hydrant? Make SURE you pull the mulch back off the bark of the tree! On all your trees and shrubs. For good measure, get some mychorrizae from a nursery and put it in the soil under the drip line...grin, what's that here? A 2-4 foot circle?

Otherwise get rid of it. If your home owner association allows, plant something different than oak, perhaps a Sunburst Honey Locust. Please don't stake your new tree. If it comes with a full canopy, thin out branches that are small in diameter in relation to the trunk. Any branches that angle towards the center of the tree, any branch that crosses another (choose the one you want to keep) and of course any dead branches. Again, this allows the wind to blow through the tree without catching the canopy and pulling it over. Plant only as deep as the root ball. If your tree has made a bigger hole, be sure to backfill to the correct height and TAMP FIRM. Otherwise when the soil settles, the tree will sink too low and once again the bark will be compromised. If your soil is sandy, make sure you get water in that clay root ball of the new tree! Use a temporary tree well the same diameter of the root ball or get a 2" or 3" pvc pipe, drill holes on the bottom foot or so that the holes can be inside the root ball. You water from the top of the pipe, and for the first month or more if it is warm weather water every other day until established.

If it comes with burlap, get the tree in the hole and get that burlap off! Completely. If there are roots circling the ball, unwind them gently. Fertilize with low nitrogen complete fertilizer IF THE TREE WASN'T FERTILIZED AT THE NURSERY. Ask when and what was used...I hope this helps. I am having a hard time thinking that the wind blowing off leaves caused this mess. Why didn't your neighbor's trees do the same? That is why I am recommending another species other than oak. Oh! And make sure you clean your pruning tools with alcohol every time you prune a plant and do it again before you prune another...

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