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Why Are Codominant Stems So Troubling?

Updated: Jul 8, 2022

Codominant stems or “leaders” are when two branches with the same diameter grow from the same point of origin or “terminal bud.” Codominance can happen in any tree, but some trees are more likely to produce codominant stems. Both oaks and maples are generally more susceptible to codominance than other tree species.


Early Treatment

Codominant stems are dangerous and need to be inspected and diagnosed early. When the tree is small and young, it is relatively easy to fix codominance by removing or trimming the smaller of the two dominant branches. An arborist can select the branch that will take over as the dominant leader by eliminating or cutting one of the codominant branches.


Late Treatment

The treatment of codominant stems, later on, is more challenging than in the tree’s earlier stages. It requires an expert’s evaluation to determine which codominant lead will be left and which one needs to be removed. The correct limb must be selected to be the primary stem as choosing the wrong branch can result in branch failure or tear-out.



Codominant stems pose many potential hazards, and should be dealt with sooner rather than later by a trained professional. Although, if codominant stems are left untouched, the branch could tear out and insects could infiltrate. As codominant stems grow and compete for dominance, they push against themselves until the weaker of the two splits off from the trunk. After the branch as broken or torn off from the trunk, the open wound creates the perfect entryway for insects and disease.


If you are unsure whether your trees are structurally sound, contact us today. Many defects can be hidden from the untrained eye, but we can show you what to look out for and find a solution to mitigate many problems. If you maintain healthy, structurally stable trees, there is no need to worry about tree failure.


Our certified arborists have the expertise needed to make the appropriate recommendations to preserve your valuable trees and reduce the risk of tree failure. We are familiar with the common defects in local trees, as well as their strength and growth characteristics.


For a complete overview and risk assessment of your tree, hire Arbor Care Tree Service Inc. Our experienced arborists can provide a comprehensive evaluation of all of your tree, so you can address concerns before they become significant problems. We can take care of all of your tree trimming, pruning, and removal needs in the Mississauga and Oakville areas. Call us today for a quote.



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