Tree Cabling and Tree Bracing

Seen to right, is a picture of a multi-lead tree that may need to be cabled, cabled and braced, or bolted, cabled, and braced. The methods applied would be a result of the condition of the tree.

Cabling, Bracing, and Bolting

Cable and bracing are two common forms of structoral support for trees. There are three major uses for cabling and bracing.

  1. To reduce the chance of failure on a healthy tree with structoral defects or weaknesses
  2. To prolong the existance of a damaged tree
  3. To reduce the hazard potential of a tree

Cabling for many years has been done with eye bolts and cable. A certified arborist or tree worker would drill into the wood of tree trunks or into branches, install eye bolts, then secure a cable between the two bolts. This would secure two leads together or a large branch to a lead. The tree parts would be more secure, but a wound from the drill left a chance for decay to spread into the interior of the lead or branch. Although still a common practice, newer methods are available involving nylon straps and spliced high strength rope (seen in the picture to the left). This new approach, called the Tree Guard System, secures the damaged or vulnerable tree part without creating a wound. Almost exclusively, Sound Arbor utilizes this method for our customers. With Cabling, a cable or rope is installed two thirds of the way up the tree from the structurally unsound, damaged, or weakend union.

Bracing involves drilling though two leads slightly above their union, then installing a rod to secure them together. Bracing is typically done in severe cases where support is needed both close to the base of the weakened or damaged tree parts and also two thirds up the tree from the weak or damaged parts.

Bolting a tree is another method used in tree life support. Typically applied when a tree is splitting apart, it can be used in conjunction with bracing and cabling to further stabilize a tree.

All three of these methods can be used to reduce the risk of a tree failing and increasing the life-span of the tree. In combination with these methods, pruning should also be applied to reduce stress on weakened unions or branches. With these practices applied, the risk of tree or branch failure should be drastically reduced. Talk to Sound Arbor to discuss whether your tree or trees are good candidates for cabling and bracing.

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