Tree cable bracing is the most common form of structural support and is used to avoid structural damage to the tree. At Foremans Tree Specialists, we always suggest cable bracing in opposition to unfavourable/heavy pruning which may be unsightly or jeopardise the health of the tree.
Providing structural support for trees through cable bracing helps to prevent the chance of deterioration of a healthy tree. In contrast, for a mature tree in decline, it may increase its longevity and reduce overall hazard potential. For example, we would cable brace a healthy tree which may have v-shaped unions where two or more stems grow side by side, pushing them away from each other creating weakness and the potential to split apart. We would also use cable bracing on mature trees with heavy lateral limbs which may also risk snapping off at the unions.
In the past, cable bracing involved using an eyebolt at both ends of a cable, screwing the ends into each stem linking them together.
We now consider this method bad practice as this creates a wound meaning in the future the wood around the eye could rot, causing the bracing to fail. Alternatively, over time the tree may swallow the eyebolt which could lead to rot or decay in the heartwood.
Now we use a polypropylene cable system which we loop around the stems and branches to avoid wounding the tree. We always install the bracing with a little slack or tolerance to allow for movement. We suggest monitoring the cable bracing at least every year to check the bracing has not become taught, as if this is the case it will need to be readjusted.
When installing cable bracing, many factors must be taken into consideration; these include but are not limited to:
- Species of tree
- Condition of the wood
- The load which needs to be supported
- The cause of the problem
- The level of risk to life, property or the tree itself
- How often will it need monitoring
In some cases, tree cable bracing is an excellent alternative to removing a tree, but safety is always of paramount importance and should be carried out to BS3998 Standards.
Contact us today if you feel your tree requires cable bracing; we will be more than happy to provide you with a free site visit to assess the tree and provide you with a quotation.