Straightening new bare root trees

Hi all,
I recently planted two bare root cherry trees. They currently have limited/no lateral branches and one of them is leafing out (the other one seems to be trying). They were received by mail crooked and continue to grow that way after planting. Should I take efforts to straighten them out? If so, what is the best method for it. I’ve attached pictures of one of the two trees. I’m new to growing fruit trees and this is my first post so thanks for your help!

Leave it be and it will fill out on its own.

Where are you located? Growing cherries can be challenging in certain parts of the country.

What are those varieties and what rootstocks they are on?

Have you decided what training style you want to grow them?

That is something you should think about before doing anything to your cherry trees.

By the way, that tree is not that crooked comparing to really crooked ones. Also, is there enough sun to the spits you planted them in?

i have a apple that i thought i planted strait but the last 3 years it started to lean so tied a thick rope to it and tied to a stake. the last couple years i untie ,relocate to another spot on the trunk and once again pull it back tight again. its almost strait now. 1 more season and i think it will be good. this is a 1 1/2in caliper tree. yours should be much easier to correct if they dont do it on thier own.

I would use one or more stakes, located outside of the root area, to loosely secure the tree to, and pull in the direction needed to straighten the tree, wherever there is a bend. I would not actually tightly knot the rope around the tree, but instead wrap the rope, openly, from the stake, to around the tree, and back to the stake.

For example, in the photo the tree appears to be leaning to the right with a a slightly bowed trunk. I would use two stakes. One on the left, that pulls the tree from the top, and one on the right that pulls the tree from the lower-middle.

Thanks for the comments everyone. Sounds like I could go either way - see if it straightens out on its own (since its not too crooked) or gently redirect it with stakes/rope.

mamuang, I’m in Northern Virginia and these are North Star Cherries. They get a decent amount of sun. I’m not sure the rootstock b/c it didn’t state on the Jung’s website. The places that tell you the rootstock seemed to be in high demand this year and were out of stock. I’ll have to give the training style some thought.

If you are describing the tree as crooked now, why not fix it while its easily adjusted (with stakes as someone else pointed out). If it doesn’t straighten on its own, will you always notice it and wish you had done something?

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Will you let it grow as a central lead tree? Cherry tree can grow quite tall. Like I said you should decide how you would like to train your tree.

The shorter (10-12 ft), the better (my on dwarf rootstock so it’s 5-6 ft tall after almost 10 years) if you want to get some cherries. Birds do not want to share. My friend has a Stella and a Bing. She did not prune them during the first few years. Bing now is 20 ft and Stella (compact Stella!) is over 12 ft.

She has not gotten any fruit. Birds took all every year and the trees are too big and too tall to cover.

When I received my Black Pearl cherry last spring, it was severely curved. When I contacted them, Grandpa (Grandpa’s Orchard was the seller) told me to straighten with multiple stakes and cloth etc for 6-12 m and it would be fine. Sure enough it was.


Thanks angeloreo. That’s what I’ll do!

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My pleasure.

I had three points of adjustments. I had one for the lower third, one for middle and one for the top. Due to severity of the bed, trying to straighten the top was causing the rest of the tree to lift or compensate. Just make sure your straps are soft and wide enough to distribute the pressure to avoid girdling and in 6-12m months it’ll be right as rain!

PS. Just realized you are new here. Welcome to the forums! This is a great place with great folks and a ton of knowledge to learn from.

I have done the straightening out of the bare root trees as well. I use several wooden stakes and use bicycle inner tubes to put on the areas I need straightened out. It has worked out well so far. It does take a few years to get them to be straight though. Some growers are worse than others for sending crooked trees to you. Others are great at sending straight trees. I normally try to order from the ones that send you the straighter trees. Less work in the long run.