Asked January 05, 2014, 3:04 PM EST
Following the heavy rains in late Sept., our 70+-year-old apple tree, laden with over 800 pounds of apples started to uproot. A quickly inserted 4x4 is currently supporting one of the major limbs and halting further uprooting. The uprooting was about 2", just breaking the surface of the ground resulting in the tree leaning and lowering the tips of the lowest branches by a couple feet. With the apples harvested, leaves dropped, and sap down, can I jack up the leaning side and erect a permanent support system. There is a fence on the downside of the leaning tree with three 4x4 posts secured in cement. Using these posts as anchors, I could erect a single post directly beneath one limb and a 4x4 cross member supported by two 4x4s attached to the tops of the two remaining fence posts to support another major limb. My question is whether I should leave the tree at its current angle or try to jack it up some to try to get it closer to its pre-leaning angle. If jacking is okay, how far and how quickly should I do this?
Having been in our house for over 35 years, pressing apples from this tree has become a family tradition. Since it is at the top of a slope, pruning the tree is a major undertaking. While still a challenge, most of the pruning can be down either from the ground or from a solidly-footed ladder using a pole pruner. It took several years to restore the tree to its current very productive state.
We appreciate any suggestions and hope that the tree can be saved.
Benton County Oregon