Cottonwood Trees
Q.

If a cottonwood tree splits pretty near the base, does that mean it should have been one single tree or does it naturally grow

Zone 55378 | Anonymous added on July 8, 2019 | Answered

that way? I'm just curious about this particular Cottonwood in Savage Minnesota here. It splits about two and a half feet up, and it's a massive cottonwood tree that now has two limbs sprouting and they're leaning heavily. I used to be an arborist and I would cut trees rope and saddle for a living but this one has me "stumped." Thank you so very kindly, Douglas k

A.
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Downtoearthdigs
Answered on July 9, 2019

What you describe is called "co-dominant stems" by the tree science academics; -- in tree worker lingo its a "double leader" tree. Sometimes its totally natural, but sometimes its a result of an old cut stump re-sprouting with multiple leaders. Some trees can grow that way indefinitely and live a happy life with structural stability, but in some cases it can be considered a structural defect and prone to splitting apart as the leaning weight of one or both of the leaders develops an over-burdened weight distribution, or with a storm event.

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