You may have a tree that is leaning or a tree with weak branches and limbs. Likewise, there could be structural problems with that tree that aren’t obvious. If structures would be in danger if your tree fell, then cabling and bracing the tree could be a lifesaver.
There are four main reasons to consider bracing or cabling your tree. These include:
- Reducing Hazards: A damaged or leaning tree could fall over onto a home or business.
- Tree Restoration: Cabling and bracing can prolong the life of your valued tree if it’s suffered some type of structural damage.
- Preventing Breakage: Trees with heavy and/or long limbs and trees with “v-crotches,” are at risk for breakage. Corrective pruning early on in the tree’s life is best but if this hasn’t happened, the bracing is a good option.
- Young Trees: When planting new young trees, consider the sapling’s height compared to the size of its root ball. If the young tree has a sizeable trunk or canopy compared to the size of the root system, you may need to stake it. Also, if the tree is planted in a high wind area with dry soil, you will also need to brace it.
Cables and braces can be very complex; it depends on both the health and size of the tree. Bracing rods can be used to fix a split branch or tree crotch. Braces are usually followed up by at least one support cable. The bracing rods are actually threaded into the tree. The braces are configured to best support the growth of the tree. The bracing rods will become permanent within the tree as the tree grows around the hardware.
Cabling will restrict a branch’s movement. Dynamic cables are more elastic and are used to strengthen a tree in relatively good health. Dynamic cables are made of synthetic fiber. with a resistance to the UV rays of the sun. These cables allow the tree to move in a somewhat natural way.
In contrast, static cables are usually made out of steel. Static cables are necessary when a tree is in imminent danger of falling. While the natural movement of the tree is restricted, most trees will eventually adapt to steel cables. However, even though they are very strong, steel cables can not 100% guarantee a tree won’t fall.
All tree cables and braces must be inspected periodically, as well as maintained. The synthetic fibers used in dynamic braces will eventually erode, and both dynamic and static systems need to be moved up as the tree continues to grow. Slack in the cables or braces can also develop as the tree grows. Extreme weather can also create changes in the support system as well.
There is a lot to consider when bracing a tree, such as the hardware, the configuration of the cables, and the tree’s location. Before you begin any bracing or cabling project, it’s smart to consult with an experienced arborist. A certified arborist can best advise you on the type of support your tree needs.