American Tree Experts

When To Consider Cabling And Bracing For Trees?

When should you opt for cabling and bracing for trees? Expert insights

Trees can sometimes develop structural weaknesses or undergo stress from environmental factors, posing risks of limb failure or collapse. Knowing when to consider cabling and bracing for trees is essential for ensuring their structural integrity and safety. This article explores the key signs that indicate your tree needs cabling and bracing.

Storm Damage

  • When a tree suffers damage from a storm, it becomes more vulnerable to limb failure or collapse. For example, a large limb may crack but not fully break. A tree cabling system can help prevent complete failure of the limb and facilitate its healing process. The extent of storm damage must be evaluated carefully.

In some cases, a tree may be irreparable. For instance, if a limb is hanging, it is safer to remove it rather than attempt bracing. Additionally, a hanging limb will not heal naturally over time. Frequently cabling and bracing trees can enhance their resilience against future storm damage by reducing limb movement during storms.

Presence of A V-Crotch Stem

  • One surefire sign that your tree needs cabling and bracing is the presence of a v-crotch stem. When a tree has two large stems or leaders that emerge from the same trunk, it can create a v-crotch stem. Unfortunately, since insufficient tissue supports both stems, one or both stems are susceptible to failing, especially during harsh weather.

While removing one of the stems is possible without harming a young tree, this is not possible for mature trees. Removing a large stem from a mature tree can lead to stem failure and affect the tree’s aesthetic appeal. However, stem failure can be prevented by using cabling and bracing to support the v-crotch stem, thereby reducing the risk of stem breaking in the future.

A Leaning Tree

  • Whenever a tree shows a noticeable lean, seeking professional evaluation is crucial. While some trees naturally grow with a slight lean, others may lean significantly due to factors like reaching toward sunlight. Similarly, soil erosion or storms weaken the tree’s anchorage into the soil, causing the tree to lean on one side.

However, if the lean becomes pronounced, it increases the risk of the tree falling, especially during storms. In certain cases, bracing and cabling can rectify a leaning tree, depending upon the severity of the lean and the stability of its root system. However, determining the appropriate course of action depends on a thorough assessment by a qualified professional.

Branches at Risk of Overextension

  • cabling and bracing for treesOverextended limbs refer to branches that have grown longer and larger than the tree trunk can adequately support. Typically, these branches extend horizontally and bear the weight of foliage. As a tree ages, it becomes increasingly vulnerable to strain, especially if afflicted by disease, pests, drought, or harsh weather conditions.

Cabling can restrict the movement of these overextended branches to mitigate the risk of them breaking off. Cabling involves using strong cables and bolts to secure the branch to the tree trunk. In certain instances, an arborist may also utilize bracing to provide additional support for large, overextended branches.


  • Recognizing when to consider cabling and bracing for trees is essential for maintaining their structural stability and longevity. By identifying warning signs, proactive measures can be taken to reduce risks and preserve tree health.

If you spot these warning signs in your trees, contact American Tree Experts for cabling and bracing services. We offer the best services to keep your trees out of harm’s way. Our experts will thoroughly assess the trees and propose suitable methods for bracing. Call us at 973-744-6091 to get a free estimate of the services. We operate in Montclair, New Jersey, and nearby areas.

Leave a Comment