Trees that are leaning after a storm can seem dangerous, but just because a tree is leaning to one side doesn't mean that it has to be removed completely. Nevertheless, an assessment should be made on any leaning tree to see if it poses any immediate danger, or if it will be possible to correct its lean. Figuring out whether a tree can be saved involves more than just looking at how far it is leaning, so be prepared to take multiple factors into account.
See Where It's Leaning
Location is the most important factor for leaning trees because stabilizing a tree can take up to many years. A tree that wouldn't cause much damage if it fell is probably okay to leave, but any tree leaning over vehicles, houses, utility lines, or walkways will likely need to be removed for safety reasons.
Check The Root Structure
Even if a tree looks nearly uprooted, it's still possible to save it if at least one-third of its root structure is still in the ground, and if the tree itself is not lying flat on the ground. If the soil isn't flooded and the roots still in the ground are healthy, you may be able to set it back upright and let it stabilize.
Make Sure Anchors/Stakes Can Be Used
Anchors and stakes can be used to hold a tree in place while its roots regrow and hold the tree upright properly, but depending on the size of the tree, this might not be an option. Large trees will need more than wood and metal stakes alone to be stable, so if there are other large trees nearby that can be used in addition, there's a good chance even a tall tree can be saved. If it's by itself, however, that may be more of a challenge.
Analyze Water Saturation Levels
Soil that is heavily saturated with water can present multiple issues. If the soil is flooded, and there is too much water to absorb, there can be so much water that roots won't get any oxygen, and the tree can weaken. Heavily soaked soil itself is also weaker than normal. If the storm brought large amounts of salt water, this can be more dangerous, as salt water can easily kill plants and trees if absorbed.
If any water evaporated or was absorbed quickly, it's more likely the soil is strong enough to keep the tree stable as its growth is corrected. If it was saturated with salt water but is now drying, you can water the area liberally with fresh water to slowly force away the salt water. If the ground is still saturated, however, it will not absorb fresh water as easily, putting the tree at greater risk of dying.
To learn more, contact a tree care company near you!