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Tree Cabling and Bracing

At times, trees grow in shapes that prevent them from supporting their own weight– this presents a serious danger in terms of potential injury, severe property damage or a downturn in the health of the tree.

Structural defects must therefore be supplemented by an outside means of support, which reduces risk by restricting movement of the branches.

The most common methods of support in this situation are called Cabling and Bracing.

These techniques involve the installation of both cables and bracing rods in conjunction with pruning in order to reduce the weight the tree has to support.

When used properly, cabling and bracing redistributes the weight, which in turn reduces stress on the tree itself.

Cabling and bracing is also used in cases of split limbs or trunks, in order to lend the tree strength and stability.

Tree limbs can grow at angles that, if not stable, determine whether the tree has a weak or strong structure.

Branches with a wide ‘U’ angle as far as their attachment to the tree are stronger than those with a narrow ‘V’ shape. Growing with branches in a ‘V’ shape is typically not an issue in younger trees, but in mature trees can cause significant problems.

Stresses such as natural conditions¬– snow, wind, wet foliage, may make it difficult for the branch to find proper support. In cases such as this, carefully placed cables bind the branches together to redistribute weight and make it easy for the branches to provide each other with adequate support, as opposed to remaining separate.

Other issues specific to the species of tree can also play a role– for example Oaks, which have a considerable surface area, can have branches that grow lower, and horizontal to their canopy. Due to their position on the tree, weight and extra stressors caused by additional growth can cause these branches to drop.

Cabling these limbs and branches can help keep them at a particular height, and in the case of a walkway, roof or area where clearance is required, cabling will provide the tree with the support needed. Cabling allows you to keep the branches, thereby maintaining the aesthetically pleasing appearance of the tree.

Special Situations:

Spit Trees: In terms of split trees, or trees that have trunks with narrow angles in their branch attachments, vertical splits can develop due to storm damage or structural weight.

In this case, it’s important to get service immediately, in order to avoid complete destruction.

At Phenomenal Tree Service, we are experienced in dealing with situations like this, and we’ll be able to assess whether cabling and bracing is an option or removal of the tree is needed.

In the case where cabling and bracing is possible, we’ll install the cables, prune where needed and strategically place the bracing rods to avoid future damage and extend the life of your tree.

Multi-Trunked Trees: Trees with multi trunks are more likely to require support than single trunk trees, due to competition between the trunks for canopy space during growth.

As limbs and foliage grow in an outward pattern away from each trunk, the weight load can become unstable, favoring the side of the tree with the most available growth space. This in turn makes each trunk less stable. Similarly, root space is also an issue in terms of competition in multi-trunk trees.

Another issue with multi-trunked trees is that damage to either of the trunks can cause a significant wound at the base that is slow to heal, and which can provide an ideal area for both disease and insects to thrive.

Cabling helps to reduce this risk by reducing the risk of damage or failure.