If you have a co-dominant stem tree in your yard with two or more "trunks" growing at slight angles to each other, then it's important you understand this type of tree can be very dangerous. Co-dominant stem trees are much less stable than those with one main trunk, both because of their internal structures as well as their off-balance leans.
If you recently moved into a home with a double trunk tree, then these guidelines will help you deal with it so your property and family stay safe:
Remove All Small Double-Trunk Trees
If your tree is still small and easily removable, then this is always what you should do. Co-dominant stem trees had a disease or were injured when they were first starting to grow and will never be as healthy or structurally sound as a normal tree. So, rather than let the tree get bigger and cause unnecessary and expensive problems down the line, remove it from your yard and plant a healthy tree in its place.
Cable Brace Larger Split-Trunk Trees You Don't Want to Remove
If you have a larger tree that isn't removable or is in a location where you just don't want to take it out and start over with a smaller tree, then you may be able to brace it using a metal cable. The cable wraps around both trunks and securely attaches them to each other. This simple bracing helps keep one trunk of the tree from breaking apart from the other, and it prevents half of the tree breaking off in a storm.
Always Use Guide Ropes when Trimming Co-dominant Trees
Since all of the limbs on a tree with multiple trunks are leaning at unusual angles to accommodate for the trunk's lean, trimming this type of tree is always more dangerous than pruning one with a straight trunk. For this reason, you should always use guide ropes when working with deformed trees. The ropes will help keep you safe if a branch breaks off before you are finished cutting it and tries to fall to the ground at an unexpected angle.
Hire a Professional Arborist if You Don't Have Tree Trimming Experience
In conclusion, if you do not have any prior tree trimming experience and your co-dominant stem tree needs attention, then you should seriously consider hiring a professional arborist or tree removal service to do the job for you.