Tree Cabling & Bracing Indianapolis In

Tree cabling and bracing is the installation of flexible steel strand cables and braces in trees to reduce stress damage from high winds, the weight of ice or snow and heavy foliage. As certified arborists, our goal is to help strengthen weak branches or limbs so that they are better able to withstand severe weather and to improve their longevity and reduce potential risk.

Weak limbs are not always obvious, so you should contact your local professional arborist to assess your trees. Your local tree doctor can help you identify particular weak points and examine bark or large codominant stems, which can be signals of tree weakness that need tree cabling and bracing.

Maintenance following tree cable and brace installation is minimal but also important, and the hardware should be inspected periodically by a professional arborist.

Co-dominant stems

This is the most common structural defect found in trees. The word co-dominant is self-explanatory. Simply put it means two or more stems share or dominate the same base. This isn’t always a bad thing. When inspecting the union point, we check for several things. The first thing we look at is the shape of the area where the stems meet. If the union is in a V shape it is a sign of competition between the stems and poor development of adhesive wood. If it is a U shape there is less cause for concern. When inspecting V shaped crotches or unions, we look at the marriage line “Branch bark ridge” in arborist speak. An upturn on the ridge is a sign that there is no bark inclusion and an inward turn is signs of ark inclusion. A union with excessive swelling is a sign of reaction growth. We also check for signs of oozing sap or pockets of decay that would further increase the probability of failure.

Types of Support Systems

Tree cabling is used to support a tree that has a structural defect, such as a codominant union, crack, cavity or other aggravating factor. When wind pushes against the upper portions of the canopy it significantly increases the amount of force and stress on the weak area, and could cause it to fail. Cabling prevents the increased force by securing the portions of the tree to others.

There are two basic types of cabling systems

Static Cabling– Extra High strength (EHS) steel cable that has no give and is used in static systems. The cable is usually fastened to the tree with steel eye hooks, lag bolts or wire stops. Static systems are usually installed when little to no movement of the crown is desired. The first step in installing a static cabling system is determining the exact point where the cables will be installed. Supplemental support cables are installed 2/3–3/4 of distance between the crotch and the top of the tree or the end of the branch. After the location is determined the fasteners are installed. There are three common types of fasteners. Eye bolts, threaded lag hooks and wire stops. We prefer the wire stop connectors. If a through eye bolt or wire stop is used a hole must be drilled and the rod or wire inserted. If lag hooks are the type of anchor used they can simply be screwed into the tree. The cable will be measured cut and installed once the holes are drilled.
Dynamic Cabling- Dynamic systems use a braided specialty rope with elastic qualities to allow for movement. As trees move with the wind they build more wood. Dynamic systems are a great proactive system to prevent failure but may not be the best for mitigating a tree that has already began to fail.

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