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Carpenter Costin Blog

Cabling and Bracing to Preserve Trees and Prevent Damage

Take advantage of tree cabling and bracing solutions to prevent damage caused by splitting tree limbs and leaders.

Do you have a tree on your property that you absolutely love for one reason or another, but splitting treefear a splitting limb may fall and cause damage – thus persuading you to remove the tree? Before jumping to the removal conclusion, consider cabling and bracing as a way of saving your beloved tree.

Cabling and bracing is a tree care technique that consists of bolting and cabling trees and tree limbs to ensure they do not split and break off. Depending on the caliper of the tree, a large bolt can be installed through a tree, helping to secure and mitigate a split in a tree. By using a complex series of ropes, an Arborist can actually pull the tree together, closing the gap where the tree is splitting, and insert a bolt to hold it there. Over time, the tree will actually grow over the nuts and bolts utilized, effectively hiding any sign of the bolt in the tree, yet still maintaining the bolt’s purpose as a support.

Utilization of bolts is only one form of bracing – the other aspect involves the installation of cables within the crown of the tree to help hold the numerous leaders and limbs together. When installed properly, cables will distribute the weight of the cabled limbs evenly, limiting the stress on the limbs and preventing splitting and damage. Cabling is a great way to prevent storm damage, and is effective on all trees, from small ornamental trees to large shade trees.

Tree cabling and bracing is a great way to preserve a tree you love; however, not all trees can be saved. Be sure to have a Certified Arborist inspect any tree that shows signs of structural weakness. If a tree can be saved with cabling and bracing, a qualified Arborist who cares about trees will certainly recommend it. If you have any questions about your trees, take advantage of a free consultation with a Certified Arborist.

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bolting tree

After closing the splitting gap with a series of ropes, drill through the tree and insert a bolt to keep the gap closed.

installing cable in tree

Installing a cable in the tree. Notice the red rope that has been used to pull the leaders together before installing the cable.

tree cabling and bracing before and after

Before and after shot of the bracing process. Notice the gap is significantly smaller, and the bolt is preventing it from splitting any more.

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