There is a fairly common phenomenon among some species of our Northern California trees that requires homeowner attention. Occasionally a tree will divide as it grows and develop two competing tops. These co-dominates are a serious problem because the tree is not naturally prepared to support the additional weight and the crotch where the co-dominates meet tends to be significantly weaker than a healthy straight, single spar trunk. Co-dominates are a major reason that professional arborists will refuse to top trees; cutting the tops off of trees often prompts the growth of co-dominate tops. Wind, rain, heat (causing increased water intake), and drought are often more than co-dominates can withstand. The answer is to remove one of the tops, preserving the most viable of the two. Co-dominates can most often be remedied up to the time they fail. After failure, tree removal tends to be the only safe alternative. Many people reasonably assume that however the tree grows is fine because its a natural manifestation. There's truth to that when talking about trees in the wild, where the premature death of a tree has no real impact on the forest. But losing the tree that shades your home and took over eighty years to grow is another matter. Having a 2,000 lb. piece of wood drop through your roof also removes some of the charm of a natural act. Failure will likely occur without noticeable warning. Some trees have several vertical spars but that does not mean they have co-dominate tops. Ask a certified arborist. At Bud's, written, no-obligation estimates are free, and our neighbors are always welcome to call the office for information.
Stacy W. Barker
Stacy is the owner of Bud's