This beautiful sugar maple recently “failed” in the Town of Shandaken after a storm. We have covered “structural” issues before, but this tree really sends the message home. Open-grown sugar maple are especially susceptible of codominant leaders and can fail miserably. Co-dominants are where 2 leaders grow next to each other of similar size. They are normally weakly attached. Moisture also creeps in between the 2 leaders and leads to decay. Sometimes, even roots can grow from soil created in the crack over time. If the tree had been pruned to a central leader, or one single leader, this could have been avoided. Just one cut many years ago. 


Ryan Trapani

Director of Forest Services

Catskill Forest Association