Can You Fix a Leaning Tree? Practical Ways To Prop, Straighten Slanted Trees

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | March 15, 2024

Person with a leaning tree wonders can you fix trees that are leaning and if there is a guide for how to prop and straighten slanted trees to prevent falling that explains how to stake a tree that's leaning.

While not always dangerous, a leaning tree can pose significant dangers to people and structures around it.8 This depends on the level of tilting and the size of the tree.

It is not uncommon to see young trees lean after a heavy storm or downpour, especially when the tree stands on unstable soil. In such cases, straightening the tree is the best solution to ensure it does not grow slanted.

For mature trees, the scenario can significantly change. That is why many homeowners wonder, can you fix a leaning tree, especially a mature one?

Well, in some cases, you can straighten the leaning tree to allow it to continue growing. In other cases, straightening is not a possibility.

This article explores all the possible solutions for handling a leaning tree including practical ways to prop and straighten slanted trees in order to help them maintain their grip and continue to grow.

Is It Possible To Fix a Leaning Tree?

The answer to this question is yes. You can easily fix a leaning tree. However, this depends on several things.

For example, is it a young or a mature tree? How far is the tree leaning? Are there buildings or structures in the direction the tree is leaning?

Graphics with text that shows how to fix a leaning tree through staking, cabling of mature trees, and calling an arborist.

All these scenarios determine how you can fix your leaning tree problem.

In some cases, calling an arborist is the best thing to do. They can assess the tree and advise accordingly.

Learn How To Fix a Leaning Tree

There are several ways to fix a leaning tree. For instance, you can decide to straighten a young-leaning tree by staking.1

On the other hand, mature leaning trees can be fixed by cabling as long as the roots are still healthy and intact.

Some of these procedures you can do them yourself. You can undoubtedly straighten a leaning young tree if it has not grown too tall.

For huge trees, you might need to seek help from the professionals.

Call an arborist to assess the situation. They have the knowledge and equipment to undertake the procedure.

How To Straighten a Tree: Fixing a Slanted Tree

When dealing with a larger tree, a professional arborist should be invited.2 Larger trees require more than just stakes to get them up and straight.

The tree can be pulled using cables and secured to metal posts or other stronger trees around it. All this depends on the tilt level and whether the roots are in good shape.3

The cables also need to be checked regularly to ensure the right tension. The tree anchors itself again to the ground with time, and the cables can be removed.

The arborist should keep monitoring the tree to decide when it is the right time to remove the cables.

How To Stake a Tree That Is Leaning

Staking is mostly for young trees. If you have a young tree leaning in your yard, stake it and straighten it out before the lean becomes a permanent problem.

A big lean can mess up the tree’s upward growth as it gets older.

When a tree is still young, it’s flexible and can easily get back to standing tall. Staking works best on damp soil, so if it has not rained, just use a hose to wet the ground around your tree before staking it.

A slanted tree trunk still rooted on the ground with other plants and foliage near it.

(Image: phot0geek9)

Here is how to stake a tree in 3 simple steps:

Step 1: Fix Some Stakes to the Ground

Get a few stakes, metal or wooden, and drive them into the ground using a mallet or a hammer. The stakes should be spread around the foot of the tree.

If the tilt is due to strong wind in your area, ensure that you position the stakes on the side the winds come from.6 This way, you can prevent the tree from being pushed again by the winds.

The stakes should be fixed at a 45-degree tilt towards the base of the tree.

Step 2: Tighten the Tree With Ropes

After the stakes are in place, use ropes to secure and straighten the tree. One end of the rope should be fixed to the tree and the other to each stake.

Buy staking straps from the hardware, which are specially designed for this work. If not, you can use normal ropes, but ensure you put some kind of caution where the ropes come into contact with the tree.

For example, some people use flexible plastic tubes.

Step 3: Let the Tree Be

After securing and straightening the tree, give it ample time to anchor again firmly into the soil. A year or so is enough.

By this time, the roots have grown deeper into the ground,7 offering the tree firm support. However, ensure that you keep checking and tightening the ropes in case they get loose.

How To Cut a Leaning Tree

Sometimes, a leaning tree cannot be saved and has to be felled.

However, a leaning tree removal process is different from a normal standing tree. If the tree is near structures or buildings, extra caution must be taken to ensure no damage occurs.

To cut a leaning tree, first, support it using a ladder. From here, use your chainsaw to first cut the branches or the upper section of the tree.

You can then cut the stem from the ground level. That is how to fell a tree that is leaning on your compound.

How To Fell a Leaning Tree in Opposite Direction: Tree Leaning Towards House Scenario

Due to the force of gravity, a tree falls towards where it is leaning. If you want to change the course of the fall, you have to take some guided steps.

The first one is to wear protective gear, as this job can be risky. From here, ensure that you trim the branches. This helps to reduce the weight pulling the tree towards the leaning direction.

Drive some pins or metal stakes into the ground and secure the tree to these pins in the opposite direction. This guides the direction of the tree’s fall.

Make a wedge on the intended direction of the fall. This is done by cutting a 90-degree notch on the opposite side of the lean, then cutting again at an angle above the notch. When these two cuts meet, you can remove the notch.

On the side of the lean, make another cut towards the notch. Drive in some felling wedges to push the tree in the intended direction.

With the help of the wedges and the pulling ropes, the tree falls in the direction you want.

How Far Can a Tree Lean Before It Falls?

There are so many leaning trees that have not yet fallen and continue to grow. So, after how much lean does the tree fall?

When a tree leans more than 15°, its chances of falling are considerably high. However, this depends on how well the tree is anchored on the ground.

If the roots are firmly anchored, the tree might still have a chance of survival.

How To Negotiate Tree Removal for a Leaning Tree

Usually, tree removal services cost between $200 and $2,000 depending on the size of the tree, location, and company. For this reason, you should know how to negotiate tree removal for cheaper costs.

The first thing to do is to shop around. Request quotes from several companies and compare. Choose the one that falls within your budget.

Some incredible ways to negotiate for lower tree removal prices include:

  • Removing several trees at once to get a wholesome price
  • Handle certain activities such as stump removal and cleanup
  • Request the neighbor to chip in
  • Avoid hauling the wood
  • Look for free tree removal services

By following the above tips, you can more or less save some bucks on removing a dangerous leaning tree from your property.

Tree Leaning After Storm: Why Do Trees Lean?

Strong storms can sometimes bend trees and leave them in that position.8 Therefore, if you wake up to a leaning tree in your compound after a storm, this is not uncommon.

However, it usually happens if the soil is loose, especially during a heavy downpour.

A tree leaning after storm on another tree in front of a house.

(Image: Tomwsulcer10)

The storm plus the weak ground causes the roots of the tree to become loose, and it may lean or even fall. If this happens, contact a professional to assess the extent of the damage or lean.

Other reasons why trees lean might include weak soil, soil erosion, rotting roots, wet soil, or dry brittle soil.4 The reason for the lean might sometimes determine how to deal with the leaning tree.

Do Trees Straighten Themselves?

No. When a tree bends or leans due to loose soil or strong storms, its chances of recovering by itself are zero. In fact, the weight of the branches and the pull of gravity makes the tree bend even more with time.

When the roots are still strongly anchored on the ground, the tree might try to make some recoveries as it seeks stability. However, the changes are minimal.5

Also, if the lean has gone beyond a certain point, the tree cannot recover on its own.

Who Should Remove a Fallen Tree?

If a tree on your property falls down, who is responsible for fallen tree removal?

Well, you, as the property and tree owner, are responsible for covering the removal cost.

However, if the tree decides to take a detour and falls on your neighbor’s property, it’s on them. They need to make the call to the tree removal service to take care of the fallen or leaning tree.

Dealing With a Neighbor’s Dangerous Tree

But what happens when it’s the tree from next door that is becoming a problem? What can I do if my neighbor has a dangerous tree, you may ask.

Talk to the neighbor respectfully. That is the first step.

If they agree, you can request a tree inspection.

If the neighbor refuses, you can write a letter, take legal action, and document the damage that can be caused by the leaning tree.

Frequently Asked Questions About Fixing a Leaning Tree

What Can You Do About a Leaning Tree?

If you have a leaning tree in your compound, you have two options: you can either support it to start growing upright or cut it down. Your decision entirely depends on the extent of the lean and the dangers the tree poses to the surroundings.

Can You Save a Leaning Tree?

Yes, especially if the tree is not leaning too much. You can save it by tightening it to stakes or metal poles which will help it to straighten and grow upward; if it is a huge lean, you might just need to cut the tree so call a professional to assess the leaning tree and advise you on what to do.

Can You Leave a Leaning Tree Unattended?

You can if the tree is not a hazard as there might not be a reason to cut it down. You can decide to let the leaning tree continue growing.

Read More About Leaning Tree


1Beaulieu, D. (2023). How To Straighten And Stake A Leaning Tree. The Spruce. Retrieved November 22, 2023, from <>

2Bolkin, K. (2021, May 26). My Tree Has A Lean; What Does That Mean? – TreesCharlotte. Trees Charlotte. Retrieved November 22, 2023, from <>

3Wilkes, N. (2017, January 30). How To Fix A Leaning Tree. Heartwood Tree Company. Retrieved November 22, 2023, from <>

4Lefke Tree Experts. (2023, April 25). Leaning Trees: Why They Lean & What To Do. Lefke Tree Experts. Retrieved November 22, 2023, from <>

5Wade, O. (2023). Can a leaning tree straighten itself? Remodel or Move. Retrieved November 22, 2023, from <>

6Brodbeck, B., & Rowe, J. (2018, December 11). Caring for Trees: Post-Storm Assessment. Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Retrieved November 22, 2023, from <>

7Cregg, B. (2007, April 27). To stake or not to stake? Michigan State University Extension. Retrieved November 22, 2023, from <>

8University of Florida. (2020, January 24). Leaning tree. UF-IFAS – Landscape Plants. Retrieved November 22, 2023, from <>

9Leaning Tree Photo by phot0geek / Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0). Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <>

10Tree leaning on another tree after Hurricane Sandy in Summit NJ Photo by Tomwsulcer / CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication. Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Wikimedia Commons <>