Earlier this year we were battered by some big storms and a few of the trees that the previous owners had planted were rocked and pushed out of place. We temporarily propped the trees up with large stakes to figure out how to straighten and secure them going forward.
We’ve undertaken some large projects during our time at Home Farm, but we had no clue how to straighten trees that are about 8-10 years old. We called some tree surgeons to come out and ascertain whether they could do it and they quoted us to do the work, explaining what would be entailed. We agreed to their fees because replacement trees would have cost us a lot more money.
We booked the arborists several times, and every time they were supposed to come out they cancelled and rescheduled. The summer came and went, so we decided to straighten the trees ourselves. Luckily, we have a neighbour that has mad DIY skills and he brought over a portable handheld pull winch, some ropes, chains and straps to get the job done.
Prior to starting the work, we looked at how the trees needed support and we cemented in two posts per tree at angles that would enable us to pull and keep the trees straight. We also purchased a four-pack of 6 metre long, 1,000kg break strength, UV resistant ratchet straps from a brand called Bison.
To straighten the trees, we chained the hand winch to a large nearby tree and tied a rope high up in the tree that we wanted to pull back. We then winched it back slowly, listening to the roots to make sure that we weren’t breaking and damaging them.
When the tree was straightened we attached the Bison ratchet straps to the tree at one end and the cemented post at the other, and tightened them until they were taut. Once the tree was stable, we removed the winch and attachments, and repeated the same process on the other tree.
The poor Scot’s Pine now looks windswept because it’s been trying to grow towards the sun for more than half the year having being heavily tilted. Hopefully, it’ll bounce back.
It was remarkable how simple the process was, but I will say that if you’ve never used a hand winch before, it can be intimidating and daunting because when the winch cable gets tight, and it starts to pull the tree straight, there is an incredible amount of force at play, so it can potentially be dangerous if you’re not entirely sure what you’re doing.
All in all though, we’re really pleased with the outcome. The trees are staying straight and are looking healthy, and every fortnight we’ll tighten the Bison ratchet straps one or two clicks just bring the trees back a tad more so that they’re perfectly straight.