Clear & Present Danger: Codominant Tree Trunks
November 10, 2014
Our Certified Arborist, Ken Smith, recently visited a property to inspect a large tree. It’s a good thing he was called out because this tree’s co-dominant trunks could pose a real danger in the near future. One strong wind or ice storm could be all it takes to rip this tree apart. In this situation, sturdy cabling will be required support the union of these two large codominant trunks.
What is a codominant trunk?
A codominant trunk is a tree that has two, or even three, equally strong trunks that join in the middle. Over time, as the tree grows and each side becomes heavy, the tree is weakened at the point where the trunks join. The wood grain presses together instead of intertwining. Eventually, this tree may split down the middle with devastating results; it could fall on a home, car or even a person walking by.
When codominant trunks exist, there are a number of factors that can cause them to fail and split; the most common is improper pruning or thinning that leave the outer limbs ends heavy. With too much weight at the ends of branches, it might only take one good gust of wind to pull the tree apart. It’s easy to look at such a tree and say “I’ll fix it later”. However, “later” can come at any time, causing you to lose not only the tree, but additional property as well.
How do we correct codominant trunks?
Sometimes, a tree with codominant trunks will need to be removed; but if we can save it, we will! Avoiding disasters like this tree that split in half last year is always our goal. For trees with codominant trunks, cabling is typically required. For the tree pictured, we will install an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved cable to support the codominant trunks. We’ll attach a flexible steel cable between the branches to limit excessive limb motion and reduce stress on the branches.
When the last major ice storm of 2013 came through Dallas, we saw a lot of trees damaged because of codominant trunks and poor pruning. Large established trees can’t be replaced; preserving your tree with good quality cabling is well worth the cost!
Posted: November 10, 2014