1. Resource delivery within plants depends on supply pathways. Some species have relatively constrained (sectored) vascular connections, while others have relatively unconstrained (integrated) vascular connections. 2. In this study, patterns of vascular hydraulic sectoriality, anatomy and ecological tolerance were examined for 18 Northern Hemisphere temperate woody species growing at Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, MA, USA. A hydraulic technique was used to measure axial and tangential conductivity on branch segments. From a ratio of these values, a sectoriality index was calculated. 3. Species that were more hydraulically sectored had greater vessel size, variation in vessel area and tangential nearest-neighbour distance, as well as lower vessel density, than did integrated species. 4. Ecologically, higher tolerance to drought and wind was correlated with being sectored, while higher tolerance to flood and shade was correlated with being integrated. 5. These results suggest that sectored species should be especially prominent in xeric environments where sectoriality may reduce embolism spread by minimizing vessel-to-vessel contact and pitting, and integrated species should be especially prominent when resources are spatially patchy or heterogeneous.