Leland Cypress Staking Question

Laurie(6)November 10, 2012

During Hurricane Sandy, one of our 6 Leland cypress trees that gives privacy to our patio area has started falling over. It does not appear to have been uprooted yet, but it certainly needs to be staked and straightened out as it's leaning into a neighboring dogwood.

We've never staked a tree before, although we do have some general sense of how to go about doing it. The cypress is about 8' tall and 3' across I'd guess. We need to be somewhat cautious about the area because our underground sprinkler system has a pipe running nearby this particular tree.

Does anyone have any tips on how to go about doing this correctly? We currently have it temporarily held up with some heavy twine and wood stakes but it's obviously not a permanent solution and we'd like to get it corrected before the tree is too stressed.


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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Probably rootbound, and since these grow quite large (unless sheared annually, in perpetuity) there is no practical way to hold it up for the rest of its life. If you want to try and stake it for a year, see if it somehow regains its ability to stay erect replace what you have now with heavier materials, like pipes and stronger cords or wires. If you use something that might cut the bark put cushions between it and the tree, like cut sections of old hose or tires.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 11:45AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

without a picture.. its impossible to go any further than what he said ...

all kinds of general ideas at the link ...

i too wonder about the long term success of doing such.. on a plant with the explosive growth potential of these trees ... you are basically hoping that the root mass can get re-established faster and stronger than the top growth.. out growing it..

the frustration in this circumstance .. is that you really have no idea.. what happened.. or is going on.. underground ... and as such.. you have no way to predict whether you will ever be successful ... been there.. lived that ...

my bottom line usually revolves around how long i will want to look at those darn stakes and guy wires .. and that is usually not the 3 to 5 years it MIGHT take to insure success ... especially when it is in a place that involves me having to look at every single minute i am in my backyard ...

you have sat yourself in a box of 'fixing' this.. you might want to step outside that box.. and at least start thinking about other alternatives ... like taking out every other one.. and replacing them with other.. BETTER plants.. so as to maintain some sight block while the new ones take hold and get going.. call it a 5 year plan .. in case rescue doesnt work.. or the others start doing the same.. which is what bboy is suggesting ...

good luck


ps: knowledge is power... though they are trees.. they are conifers.. and if you want to look into other .. better conifers.. there is a conifer forum ... but since they are trees also.. staking is the same... so i am not implying you posted in the wrong place as such ..

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 11:56AM
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Spellcheck: Leyland.

Ditto to bboy, rootbound when planted leads to instability in later life. I'd remove it, it is highly unlikely every to become reliably windfirm. Even if you stake it and it appears to settle down, the next major gale will topple it again, and then it'll be much larger and more dangerous.


    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 12:49PM
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Thanks everyone.

it's only been in the ground for a bit over a year. We had some new landscaping put in the previous spring, 2011. it was a good size to begin with and really took off this past year. I was going to have them sheared in the spring - i know that they need to be kept cut down in these areas. Sure wish i'd done it this summer instead, hindsight and all but who ever thought NJ would suffer a storm of this magnitude? We had 90 mph winds here in the northeast part of the state, wild.

I can't see taking any of them out - since they were all just put in and i spent quite a bit of money on them. I don't mind having them trimmed every year tho, I do that with other landscaping so I'd just rack that up to general maintenance.

Sounds like taking it out might be the best bet though. Thankfully, it's the last one on the run, closest to the house and I don't think it will be missed visually to much, and as far as the privacy factor, I'm sure we can find something to replace it which will give enough height in that one area.

Will take everything under consideration. I really appreciate the input.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 2:35PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

Sounds like taking it out might be the best bet though. Thankfully, it's the last one on the run, closest to the house and I don't think it will be missed visually to much,

==>> well.. contrary to what i said above.. now that you are fully online with its odds..

stake the darn thing.. thru next fall/winter .. and see what happens.. and then in the second year.. let it free ..

and if it falls again.. then get rid of it ..

understanding your odds.. and acting accordingly.. is better than jsut winging it ...

and if you were going to top it anyway.. take off the top few feet.. so its less of a sail .. stake it.. and see what happens ...


    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 3:59PM
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We'll stake it most likely now regardless, it's worth a try - it's far too large for us to handle on our own and we can't even get anyone to come dig it out for us right now. I would feel awful even asking considering that there's at least one tree in a house on every street in my neighborhood - if not more. Much bigger problems to be attended to than mine, everywhere :(

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 4:14PM
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