tree cabling

Your Tree’s Structural Integrity and the Use of Cabling and Bracing

Austin Tree Cabling and Bracing ServicesYou’ve probably seen a tree blown over or a large branch in the street after a big storm. Often these trees and their branches could have been spared the destruction if properly braced and cabled. Some trees can grow in such a manner that they become unstable resulting in broken branches and trunk splits. For example, the weight of a branch is too much for the tree to support it due to its design and angle from which it grows off the trunk or another branch. This can be the case with multi-trunked trees and those with large, open canopies. Whether due to time or a severe storm, these branches can fail resulting in property damage, personal injury, or even cause the tree itself to weaken and die.

Tree cabling and bracing involves the installation of flexible steel strand cables and bracing rods in trees to help reduce the stress of damage due to inclement weather, or due to the size and angle of growth of a branch. Properly installed cables and bracing techniques help to redistribute weight more proportionately amongst branches. A combination of cabling and bracing can also successfully aid in the eventual repair and regrowth of trunks and limbs that have split.

A couple of ways to determine your tree’s structural integrity include the identification of angles by which branches grow off the trunk of a tree or other branches, and the branch to trunk size ratio.

Branches with a wider, more “U” shaped angle are general stronger than “V” shaped branch growth. Branches that form a “V” shape often do not have sufficient space to create a strong union with the tree’s trunk or another branch.

Ideally, lateral branches should be no more than a half to three-quarters of the tree trunk’s size. Branches larger than this are often too heavy for the trunk to support and are at risk for splitting. If this is the case, such branches are vulnerable to breaking in winds and rain storms or with the additional weight of ice or snow on them.
Trees species that may benefit from cabling and bracing include the following:

Large open-canopy trees

  • Live Oak
  • Shumard Red Oak
  • Pecan
  • Cedar Elm

Multi-trunked trees:

  • Texas Red Oak
  • Shumard Red Oak
  • Live Oak
  • Cedar Elm
  • Arizona Ash
  • River Birch
  • Hackberry

Trees prone to vertical splitting:

  • Live Oak
  • Red Oak
  • American Elm

If you suspect a tree may be prone to a structural failure, call Capitol Tree Care today and let our Arborist assess your tree’s structural integrity to determine whether or not it will benefit from cabling and bracing.