Tree cabling and bracing is the installation of hardware in trees to provide supplemental support if reduction pruning is not enough to keep your trees healthy. This extra support can extend the life of the tree by reducing the risk of failure of codominant stems. Codominant stems are two or more main branches of similar size which arise from a common single trunk. These junctions are considered the weakest points on otherwise healthy trees and pose the greatest risk of failure. Tree support systems cannot eliminate all risk, but when properly installed they can significantly reduce the risk of failure, providing peace of mind for the homeowner.
Not all trees, however, are good candidates for a brace or cable. Damaged root systems and/or significant decay in the trunk or branches will disqualify a tree from mechanical support. These trees should be considered for removal if they are in an area where they pose a threat to property or life. A certified arborist should examine the tree in question. If the decision is made to install a support system, Wellnitz Tree Care has the experience and equipment to install the device(s).
A static cable is a steel cable installed in a tree to limit movement of branches with weak unions or to support heavy branches. Wellnitz Tree Care uses ANSI A300 approved heavy gauge cable to brace trees. Chains should never be used in cabling situations. One bad link in the chain will cause failure to the entire system. Cables are much less likely to fail due to a weak strand because the stress is evenly distributed over the entire cable.
The proper location for a cable is approximately two-thirds the distance from the weak crotch to the branch tips. If the cable is placed higher the branches may not be strong enough to hold the tree. If placed lower the cables might not provide enough support to the weakened section. The cable is fixed between two anchor points in a straight line (perpendicular to the bad crotch) and the anchor points are secured by drilling into the tree (not wrapping around the trunk or branch). By drilling into the tree, growth can continue around the bolt whereas wrapping cables or chains around the tree will constrict the growth eventually killing the tree or branch.
A dynamic cable allows some movement between branches while still stabilizing weak unions or heavy branches. Wellnitz Tree Care uses the Cobra® tree support system for our choice of dynamic cables. The Cobra®system is designed to be flexible while absorbing shock from the wind. This flexibility allows the tree to oscillate in the wind. This movement stimulates reactive growth, allowing the tree to continue to strengthen itself.
Bracing is the installation of a bolt through the tree to stabilize a poor union or hold a split together.
310 Congress Street, Emporia, KS 66801 • 5709 SW 21st St., Suite 108, Topeka, KS 66604