I recently saw this sugar maple tree “fail” near Napanoch in Ulster County while driving around. Typically, large maple trees that are open-grown have structural defects caused by co-dominant leaders. These co-dominant leaders develop tight-crotches at their unions which cause cracking since they are weakly joined. Many times these trees break apart during a storm-event at these unions. Failure can be reduced either by pruning which reduces height/width of the tree to make it more compact, or by cabling. I noticed this tree did have some sort of “cable.” However, the “cable” was some sort of chain I have never seen used in a “standard” cable. In any case, this beautiful tree split and half of it fell into the adjacent yard-maple and powerlines. If you have a tree with a “split”, CFA does have a TREE CABLING PROGRAM to help.

Ryan Trapani

Director of Forest Services

Catskill Forest Association