The Danger of CoDom Stems

Yep ... you read that correctly, CoDom stems are a danger to tree health. Here is an easy way to protect your tree.

The term “co-dominant stem” is used to describe a tree that is composed of two main stems or leaders. Both stems are usually the same in diameter and length. As the tree continues to mature, these stems grow in diameter and compress against each other. Tree failure can result once the stems have begun compressing. The stems can also compress enough to cause tree splitting. The best prevention tactic is to prune co-dominant stems when the tree is young by removing one of the stems that is competing.

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Clockwise from the left: a tree growing with a co-dominate stem; damaging tree splits result from unpruned CoDom stems; proper CoDom pruning technique.