Planting trees in regions with heavy winds?

fireweed22July 3, 2014

I've been on my property for 9 years and have been planting trees since day one. It was previously a hayfield and is surrounded by hay fields.

Often in the afternoon we get heavy winds.

I sometimes stake young trees and gradually loosen once established after first season as I know they need to harden up naturally.

What I'm finding is when they get bigger (8' +/-) and a little branching, they start rocking back and forth, trunk coming loose from rootball.

I have some Juglans species that were never staked from 2' grafts. Now 8' they are coming loose. Some of the fruit trees lean into wind.

I feel a stake at this large size will stop it from actually establishing? Bigger it'll just need a bigger stake? I don't want to have to babysit a small forest here.

Any ideas how to handle this? My soil is clay-peat-silt, not a huge amount of organic matter.

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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it sounds like there's a very good possibility that your trees have serious root-system issues! Tell us how you plant and how you prepare the root system when planting. How do you address pot-bound roots?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 10:44PM
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ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)

I agree with Brandon, but I also want to add that if you live in a windy area, you need to plant trees that are specifically wind tolerant. Not all trees can withstand constant high winds.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 7:23AM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Fireweed, I agree with your statement about the stakes being sort of a necessary evil or them not helping the tree hold itself up. Its sorta like at the gym. I might need a spotter when I'm benching and every once in a while absolutely need you to pull the bar off my chest! But if the spotter picks it up every rep for me then I never get stronger. It is difficult to stake a tree only on 40mph wind days though lol.

My guess is go with smaller transplants and more of them. Consider that you might be able to get a dozen small trees for cheap from a company like Musser Forrests or your county extension office. Not only will the two foot trees not be instantly exposed to tons of wind load but they also were not grown in some tiny pot where they develop a root PIVOT ball. Field grown trees which are cut from the ground suffer a similar root mangling and get the same ball effect.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 9:22AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

plant small ... and let them grow into the situation.. without stakes ...

a one footer.. planted 9 years ago.. would be a very nice plant by now ... instead you tried for instant gratification ... and you are still not gratified ...

plus what they said above ...


    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 9:45AM
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Ok thanks for the responses, I should have been more detailed.

I plant as you should, correct depth, scarify and correct root ball if one, no soil amendments for better outward rooting.

I've planted plenty of small trees and some have done well while some developed wind related wobbles.

And no I haven't done trees specific to windy conditions, hind site being 2020.

I've planted several large trees (10' range) will total success, I think the big rootball weighted them in.

I think I've realized I need to stake fruit trees with their required canopy.
How about walnuts, and other Juglans? Will one day they just get enough mass to weight themselves??

Most conifers seem ok, except for one pine and one Abies.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 11:55AM
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Restake those that are loose and only water outside the trees rootball. This is an attempt to force roots to grow into existing soil for the moisture. Another possibility would be pruning to lessen wind effect on the tree. Once roots establish the tree will probably quickly regrow what was pruned.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 1:17AM
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