[NAFEX] Too much rain, Too much wind

Don Yellman dyellman at earthlink.net
Thu Jun 19 20:02:49 EDT 2003

Ward Barnes wrote:
> The continuing rain throughout late winter and spring has caused my 
> orchard ground to be soft.  Combined with a strong wind two nights ago 
> and one of my 15 to 20 year old apple trees was blown down.  My question 
> is can this tree be saved or is it better to replace it with a different 
> fruit tree?
> Ward Barnes
> Wake, Va. Coastal Zone 7
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1.  I think a lot depends on how valuable this tree is to you.  If it is 
one of your good producers, with quality fruit, I would try to save it. 
  The condition of the tree at the crown is also a factor.  If there is 
evidence of any breakage, or if a lot of the larger roots have been 
pulled out and exposed, it might be difficult to re-bury them properly.

2.  If you decide to try to save it, I think the first thing I would do 
is prune off quite bit of the top growth to try to restore some 
tree/root balance.  It will be easier to do this while the tree is lying 
on the ground.  I would basically leave only the scaffold limbs.  This 
will also help to reduce the sail effect in case you get any more high 
winds this season.  Not much sign of the rains and winds stopping so far.

3.  Tie a stout line on a major limb as high as possible in the tree, 
and hook the other end to a pickup or car based at the nearest dry spot. 
  Then try to pull it up a little past vertical.  You might require an 
assistant to guide the tree as it goes up, and perhaps supply a little 
extra muscle.

4.  I have a couple of heavy steel tree anchors here that screw into the 
earth, and, if turned in deeply, will support a lot of weight.  You 
should be able to find these anchors at a homeowners store like Lowes or 
maybe Home Depot.  Mine came from a farm supply store.  Then just run a 
line from the anchor to a high point on the tree.  You may have to use 
more than one to control wobbling, but it is possible that one would be 
enough.  You can also use one or more notched 2x4's against the tree if 
you can't find anchors.  If the earth ever dries out, which seems 
unlikely now but has to happen eventually, the tree should eventually 
stabilize and strenghthen, and the anchors or the 2x4's can come off 
after one full season.

5.  I have to add that I have only done this with trees that were severe 
leaners, not ones that were flat on the ground.  But I was able to 
overcome the leaning, and the trees have been on their own for years.  I 
think these problems owe a lot to the use of size-controlling 
rootstocks, which allow quite a bit of top growth with some apple 
varieties, but not a whole lot of anchoring.  I have never had this 
happen with M-111.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

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