After heavy rains, storms and hurricanes, sometimes small trees will become uprooted. Certain species are noted for this and Drake elms are one of them. Sometimes you may be able to upright small trees and save them.
Step 1 - Cover the exposed roots immediately to keep them from drying out until you can make arrangements to restore the tree to the upright position. Use wet burlap, hay, mud, etc. to retard drying. Look for any shattered roots and if present, cut them away.
Step 2 - Upright the tree. If the tree is small enough, do it yourself. If it is too large to handle by yourself, try to block and tackle, winch, etc. When lifting, protect the bark with padding where pressure is applied to the trunk. Look at the root system carefully. You may need to prune or cut back part of the crown to compensate for root loss.
Step 3 - After the tree is restored to its original position, install guy wires to hold it in place until the root system regenerates. This may take up to a year. Use at least three guy wires and use a short length of rubber hose around each wire to proptect the bark from injury. Fasten the wires securely to stakes in the ground. Check guy wires often so they do not grow into and cut and girdle the trunk.
Step 4 - Water the tree well. Water slowly for a long period. Watch for insect and disease pressure.
These steps and procedures will usually work for trees less than 10 inches in diameter. Larger trees are usually too heavy to upright and handle safely.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture