Thread: Young Trees with Split trunks

Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Seedling
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    SE Pennsylvania
    Posts
    27

    Young Trees with Split trunks

    Hi, there is a field behind my property where I have planted several seedlings over the past several years, all have been successful.

    Two of them (a red maple and an elm) are about 7-10 ft at this point, and have split trunks starting 1-2 ft off the ground.

    Should I let them continue to grow this way, or should I cut down the second trunk/branch, and tie up the remaining tree for a little while to straighten it up? Should I remove the second trunk/branch all at once, or a little bit at a time? What time of year should this be done?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Oak
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Western NY, Zone 6
    Posts
    348

    RE: Young Trees with Split trunks

    Bark splitting is fairly common on young trees (especially Maples) and occurs during the Winter months. You can cut down on this if you wrap the tree with "trunk wrap" during the Fall, most home and garden centers (i.e. Lowes, Home Depot) sell trunk wrap. Wrap the trunk about 4' up off the ground, stop below the first branch of the tree.

    The bark spit will heal with time and there is most likely no reason to be concerned. Unless the bark is split around the entire tree, 360 (aka girdling), the trees will grow a new layer of bark underneath the split. Remember to unwrap the tree trunks by late Spring (after the frosts have passed).

  3. #3
    Seedling
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    SE Pennsylvania
    Posts
    27

    RE: Young Trees with Split trunks

    Hi, thanks for replying...

    Sorry, I think I used the wrong terminology in my first post... What I meant was that at about 1-2 feet above ground, the trunk Y's off; there is no longer one main trunk but two main branches (one slightly less dominant than the other on each tree).

    It's not damage, just the growth pattern. I understand that this pattern is not ideal. Do any of the approaches to correcting that I mentioned above make sense, or should I leave them alone?

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Oak
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Western NY, Zone 6
    Posts
    348

    RE: Young Trees with Split trunks

    Take some photos of the trees and post them, if the trees are still young you can choose the portion of the Y-split that is the straightest and prune one of them off, this should only be done in early Spring before bud break (mid March).

  5. #5
    Seedling
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    SE Pennsylvania
    Posts
    27

    RE: Young Trees with Split trunks

    Ok, thanks. I'll wait until early next spring if anything. Here they are...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	red_maple_20110626_101.jpg 
Views:	2573 
Size:	141.7 KB 
ID:	1496   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	elm__20110626_633.jpg 
Views:	2573 
Size:	120.9 KB 
ID:	1497   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	red_maple_20110626_101.jpg 
Views:	2573 
Size:	141.7 KB 
ID:	3041   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	elm__20110626_633.jpg 
Views:	2573 
Size:	120.9 KB 
ID:	3042   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	red_maple_20110626_101.jpg 
Views:	2573 
Size:	141.7 KB 
ID:	4586  

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	elm__20110626_633.jpg 
Views:	2573 
Size:	120.9 KB 
ID:	4587  

  6. #6
    Oak
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Western NY, Zone 6
    Posts
    348

    RE: Young Trees with Split trunks

    The "smaller" branch that forks off to the right in your top photo could probably be pruned off during the early Spring before the tree comes out of dormancy (bud break). While it's young, the more leaves it has, the better, but as the tree ages and becomes established, corrective pruning can be done. Prune the branch down to the branch collar (don't cut completely flush to the trunk), then you'll have to watch for sucker grown off of that branch in the future.

Similar Threads

  1. Pruning for multiple trunks
    By BobR in forum Tree Planting and Care
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-10-2008, 12:14 PM
  2. When should I transplant my young trees?
    By Wineguy in forum Tree Planting and Care
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-18-2006, 11:25 AM
  3. Large red oak trees w/double trunks that were cut off
    By PJ1 in forum Tree Planting and Care
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-06-2006, 01:04 PM
  4. split in young oak sapling
    By gayle in forum Tree Planting and Care
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-27-2006, 09:04 AM
  5. Pecan with two trunks and hole
    By brandonvne in forum Tree Planting and Care
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-16-2006, 12:45 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •