Cabling and Bracing

Cabling or brasing is only recommended for valuable, mature trees that have some serious structural defects. Cabling and/or bracing will make them safer, but will not solve the original structural problem. For example, when two trunks are joined with a very narrow angle, the trunks are usually structurally weak. When there is a wide angle, there is more solid wood at the junction. Narrow angles have what is known as "included bark" at the joint area, resulting in a weak joint. As the tree gets older, a fissure sometimes develops, and the tree splits in a wedge-like manner. Cabling and/or bracing holds the trunks (branches) together and decreases the chance of splitting. The hazard is reduced significantly, but not completely. Trees that have been cabled or braced should be inspected on a regular basis.

Cabling requires special hardware and installation techniques. There are several different systems of cabling. One common system uses special hooks that are firmly inserted deep into the trunks and joined with aircraft cable. Proper cable material must be used: cables must have a high enough tensile strength relative to the size of the trunks being cabled.

Cabling is not a homeowner job. Cabling should only be done by trained professionals as incorrect procedures can do more harm than good.