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Junctions as failure points

The points where two stems join or where a branch and trunk join can become weak under certain circumstances. The union is typically strong when the branch is small compared to the trunk. The union is weaker when stems are close to the same size. The union is weak if there is another large branch closeby. Bark inclusions make the union extremely weak (See: inclusions).

strong unions because branch is smaller than trunk

Unions are strong because branches are small compared to the trunk. See inside the branch union.

weak untion when stems are the same size

Unions are weak because stems are about the same size. The union on the left has a bark inclusion and is the weakest of these four examples.