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Unlock the secrets of tree support systems: Cabling and bracing explained
Sometimes trees come across problems that affect their health. However, trees with poor structural integrity or weak branches do not necessarily require removal. In these instances, it is worthwhile to support the tree with the help of cabling, bracing, or other tree support systems. Keep reading to discover different types of tree support systems.
- Cabling is a common technique used by arborists to provide structural support to trees. This is done by attaching high-strength cables and hardware to other branches, the trunk, the ground, or other anchors. Simple or complex cable systems can be used depending on the type of support needed for the tree.
Cabling is primarily used to prevent tree branches from splitting and can also support long limbs or reinforce weak-wooded species. The two main categories of cabling systems: static and dynamic, differ based on various materials and attachment techniques used in the process.
Static Cabling Systems
- Static cabling systems aim to rigidly secure branches with metal hardware such as screws or bolts. These screws and bolts are attached to different limbs with galvanized steel or aircraft cable.
While the metal hardware provides secure attachments, it can also serve as an entry point for fungi and pathogens that can cause decay. These are older types of tree support systems. Although still practical, static cabling systems are replaced by dynamic systems.
Dynamic Cabling Systems
- Dynamic tree cabling systems are a type of cabling system used to provide structural support to trees. They are designed to allow movement in the tree branches and limbs, providing more natural and flexible support.
Dynamic tree cabling system puts less stress on the tree and uses synthetic materials such as ropes, flexible cables, and attachment hardware, giving the tree more room to sway. The goal is to provide support while still allowing the tree to respond to wind and other environmental factors in a natural way. Thus, reducing stress and promoting long-term stability.
- Braces, like cables, provide support by pulling a branch or stem in the desired direction. However, unlike cables, braces are rigid and are used to support the base of large, co-dominant stems in twin-trunked trees.
Arborist drills through both trunks to install braces and secures a steel rod with nuts on both sides. Multiple braces may be necessary for large trunks. Despite offering significant strength, braces can also lead to decay, so they should only be used when necessary.
- Props are a primary tree support system used for centuries to support branches at risk of failure. They can be made from any strong and rigid material, such as masonry walls, metal poles, wooden posts, etc. Props are primarily used to support healthy, desirable limbs with poor structure or a weak attachment point. This is typically seen in mature trees with heavy, long lower branches. Propping them up can extend their lifespan for several decades.
Props can also support leaning tree trunks, but propping is only practical for smaller trees due to the weight of large trees. It is wise to have a professional assess your tree’s needs before opting for cabling or bracing, as they are costly solutions. The professional evaluation will benefit you in the long term and determine the appropriate type of procedure.
At American Tree Experts, Inc., we offer the best services to keep your plants out of harm’s way. Our cabling and bracing services ensure that your garden has strong and protected trees. Our most sought services are pruning, bracing, pest management, and nutritional management. We offer services in Montclair, New Jersey. Call us at 973-744-6091 for a free quote.