The angle between a branch and the trunk, called a fork or crotch, is normally greater than 45 degrees in most species. If the angle is much less than this, bark is sometimes trapped between the branch and the trunk, preventing the wood from growing together at that point. This weakens the branch. As the branch and trunk increase in length, the additional weight causes the fork to split at the weak junction. A large portion of the tree may fall. Some trees that develop weak forks break more readily than others because of their growth habits and brittle wood.

Note: We have provided some general information and observations on this topic aimed at the home gardener. Before you take any serious action in your landscape, check with your state's land grant university's Cooperative Extension Service for the most current, appropriate, localized recommendations.

 

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