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Need Help - Semi-Mature Leyland Cypress Trees Keep Leaning/Falling Over

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by mikegbuff, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. mikegbuff

    mikegbuff LawnSite Member
    Messages: 81

    I have 10 leyland cypress trees we planted for a client 2 years ago. There were 3 gallon size, about 4' tall at the time. They are now about 7-8' tall with thick limbs. This winter, the trees started leaning and falling over towards the ground. When I say lean, I mean the trunk is staying straight, pushing the dirt over and leaning the whole tree. The trees are not bending at an angle on the trunk. The trees do not have mulch piled against them, but are in a bed of mulch, so this may be keeping the ground a little wet. I have tried staking them with the short plastic stakes I usually use, but this hasn't worked very well. This is in SC where we have had a good amount of wind and rain this winter, but not an extreme amount. I'm guessing that the trees are just at an in-between point where they are very heavy, but not strong enough to support themselves and that the wet ground and wind are too much for the strength of the trunk at this point. Would you recommend getting some sort of long (10-12 inches?) metal stake to drive in the ground, or would you even go to the extreme of driving some sort of 8 foot post into the ground beside the tree to strap the tree to? I need to get this fixed this weekend for a customer and would appreciate any input.
  2. Okiebug003

    Okiebug003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    Sound like you need bigger stakes. Might be worth it to just go ahead and use a metal fence post so you don't have to worry about them again. A 10-12 inch stake won't hold up to high winds. You might also try doing a 4 post rather that 3. Put the stakes as resonably far away fro the trunk as you can this will add more stability.
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    If they have not grabbed hold of the soil, after 2 years, you have toask yourself: What's the deal with the soil?
    Did you say they were growing in mulch? Is it swamplike? We have examples everywhere of trees blowing over and the roots standing up at a 90 degree angle. Biggest one I saw around here made a 10' wall, down in the swamp.

    If its real soil and has rooting depth then they should be fine once the ground returns to normal.
  4. mikegbuff

    mikegbuff LawnSite Member
    Messages: 81

    The mulch was put down about a year after the trees were planted in regular soil. I'm getting responses/pictures from quite a few people in the area that have the same problem, on trees up to 20 feet tall. I was thinking it was just me, but apparently I'm not alone... If I drive a fence post into the ground beside the tree and properly tie the tree to the post (protect the bark), how long would you leave it staked - 2 years? Thanks.

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