Tree Cabling

cabling a treeCabling and/or bracing a tree is to install support bolts and cables into a tree to strengthen its structure and prolong its life.

Why would you install support cabling into a tree?

There can be several reasons why one would consider cabling a tree – With a professional inspection from a certified arborist, one may find the tree is a likely candidate for failure. At any moment in the near future the tree's crotch could split and one of the key branches could fall away. If the tree stands over a populated area or is next to valuable property (a garage, a house, electrical cables), the decision becomes to completely remove the tree or add support cabling and/or bracing. One may want to keep the tree and opt for cabling because of historical value, sentimental value, monetary value, functional value and/or even certain conservation laws. Tree cabling increases the longevity of the tree, reduces the likelihood of failure, and strengthens any weaknesses.

What is involved in tree cabling?

Not only will there be the integral support bolts and cable installation, but, for technical reasons, the tree may need extensive trimming to reduce its weight load across the support system and benefit the cabling and bracing, thus reducing future failure. Periodic trimming and inspection may also be required to keep the weight down and insure the support cables and tree are staying strong. Periodic readjustments every two years may also be required.

elm tree crotch may need cabling installationThere are two types of tree cabling systems

  1. static system – essentially uses metal cabling, bracing, and bolts and is rigid
  2. dynamic system – this system may use synthetic rope that is made to absorb shocks and can reduce structural damage from sudden movements and stops

There are certain reason why one or the other would be chosen and requires an inspection from an experienced arborist to determine which method is best for the situation. It is highly recommended to get a certified arborist to inspect the tree in question. In the very least, get a professional opinion about what options you may have. Working on a tree by yourself can cause very expensive mistakes in the long run and can even be dangerous in some situations.