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