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Carpenter Costin Blog

Can Cabling & Bracing Save My Tree?

Here in the northeast we commonly experience heavy snow and ice in the winter, high winds during storms all year, and heavy foliage on our beautiful trees, especially in the summer and fall. While most hardy New Englanders can handle the shifts in the weather and the sometimes harsh storms, our precious trees sometimes need some help to remain structurally sound. That’s where cabling and bracing can help trees bear the brunt of these weather phenomena and remain healthy throughout the year. 


What is Cabling and Bracing? 

Cabling and bracing are two proactive and preventative techniques used to support a tree, or grouping of trees, that may have a weak or poor structure due to weather, disease, or environmental reasons. 

Certified arborists often use these techniques to help fix structural integrity when they diagnose a tree as being in crisis. These rescue methods can help a tree regain its health while averting a structural failure. 


Signs a Tree May Need Cabling or Bracing 

Trees across Massachusetts face a number of hazards throughout the year from drought, to severe weather to the growth of fungus and pests. These issues can cause a few situations where trees may need to be braced or cabled to provide much needed support. 

Some of signs that could cause structural failure and the need for cabling or bracing include: 

  • Split branches 
  • Poor root systems
  • Areas of decay or rot
  • Cracked limb structure
  • Signs of pest infestation
  • Improper pruning


Saving a Tree with Cabling & Bracing 

Each tree situation is different, but our certified arborists can evaluate the cause of the structural issue and determine the best course of action to help save your tree whether it is relieving the stress on the tree through baling and bracing or if complete removal is needed. 

The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) explains that cabling and bracing is an extremely specific science that can add 10 to 15 years of healthy life to a tree. Tree care specialists and certified arborists can follow the national standards set forth by TCIA to help lengthen the life of a struggling tree through the use of these specialized tools. 

By properly placing cables between limbs, arborists can help redistribute the load of weight, allowing the limbs or trunks to support each other. Likewise, bracing rods are often used to support splitting limbs by bolting them together.  Both of these techniques are meant to provide supplemental support, especially during times of crisis such as wind storms, heavy snow, or hurricanes. 

Minimizing the movement of branches and limbs during a storm through these rescue methods can dramatically help stop the splitting and weakening of the tree as a whole. It can also stop weakened branches from falling and causing injury to people or damage to surrounding structures. Sadly, the process is not a full solution but rather an attempt to stop any further structural problems and shore up the structure to give the tree a fighting chance. 




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