Ask An Arborist: How do I straighten a wind-bent tree?

Gary in Ada asks:

“I have young sweetgum tree, 2yrs old. Severe wind has bent the tree over. To straighten it should I dig down on one side or just put a strap on the tree and pull it back straight?”

Linda Horn from Total Environment replies:

“Depending on the size of the tree, with as wet as the ground is, you might be able to straighten by gradually pulling it and tightening it to a metal stake a little each day. Be very careful not to damage the trunk with wire, etc…put the wire through a piece of hose to buffer the point of contact with the tree. Never tie wire to the trunk directly or tie wire or string completely around the trunk! Keep it straightened to the stake into the fall to make sure that it stays. The roots will continue to grow in fall until the ground cools so that should get it stabilized.”