Tree Cabling and Bracing
Apr 22, 2022

If you have a damaged, declining or top-heavy tree, cabling and bracing can restore its structural integrity and re-establish healthy ongoing growth.

A weakened or overgrown tree can pose a risk to everything around it, including people and property. Heavy branches may snap off or the entire tree come crashing down, especially in rough weather.

Cabling and bracing tree reinforcement supports trees with structural defects so they remain upright and robust.

What Are Tree Cables and Bracing Rods?

Arborists use tree cables and braces to support unstable branches and tree trunks that can no longer support their own weight. Bracing rods are generally installed low on the tree, while cables are placed much higher.

Cables stabilise major branches by redistributing weight. The tree cabling technique entails fixing a flexible cable onto a weakened tree limb and connecting it to a stronger one.

Cables allow growth and movement at a reduced level as they support weaker limbs and minimise the risk of structural failure.

Rigid bracing rods are used with cables to hold together splitting limbs and tree trunks. Bracing can also be effective when cabling alone doesn’t provide enough support for heavy branches.

Differences Between Tree Cabling and Tree Bracing

Tree cables are used on the upper canopy of a tree, alongside steel rods when reduction of structural stress is necessary for major branches.

The extra-high-strength cables still allow some swaying or other natural movement of branches but lessens the risk of damage in severe weather. Both dynamic and static cabling methods can be applied dependent on the situational requirements of the tree.

Bracing is most often used in conjunction with cabling, when a more rigid solution is necessary to limit branch movement. Bracing can sometimes be used in the event of a partial failure so the shape of the tree can still be maintained.

Bracing is also used on the lower parts of a tree and entails installation of steel rods above and/or below the damaged area.

Signs a Tree Needs Cabling/Bracing

Harsh weather such as storms can cause damage that significantly weakens trees. If left unchecked, this can lead to limb breakage and even death and total collapse of the tree.

The structural integrity of a tree can also be compromised when it has an excessively weighty canopy, or through disease and decay, ageing, a compromised rooting system, or poor pruning.

Signs that a tree may need attention from cabling and bracing specialists include:

  • Cracking or splitting of the tree trunk.
  • Abnormal bending of the tree to one side.
  • Soft patches of wood.
  • Exposed tree roots.
  • Broken branches.
  • Drooping branches.
  • Cracked branches.
  • Sagging branches.
  • Crossed branches that rub together.
  • Excessive swaying during strong winds.
  • Creaking or cracking sounds.

Risk Factors for Trees

Warning signs like the above can be an indication of structural weakness in a tree due to factors such as:

  • Age of the tree.
  • Growth pattern.
  • Type of wood.
  • Weight of branches.
  • Inadequate maintenance.
  • Construction work.
  • Weather damage.
  • Insect infestation

The Tree Cabling and Bracing Procedure

Tree cabling and bracing by professional arborists entails assessing the tree to identify damage and areas of weakness, and installing the most appropriate support system.

Tree lopping

Initial Inspection

A tree risk assessor will evaluate the overall health and structural integrity of your tree. They can detect warning signs that may not be apparent to a layperson.

Determining the Extent of Damage

Your arborist will determine the level of damage and recommend the most suitable cabling/ bracing option.

Identifying Areas That Need Support

Correct placement is key in tree cabling and bracing installation. Damaged or weakened trees often need structural reinforcement of primary branches but the tree trunk may also need support.

Installing the Cable and Bracing System

Depending on the level of support required for the damaged or weakened limbs, a cable and/or bracing system will need to be installed onto the tree. For smaller limbs or minor damage, it is possible to support the vulnerable areas with non-damaging cables or ropes, securing the limb to a stronger section of the tree.

For more heavily damaged areas or larger limbs, a cable and bracing system may need to be used instead. This will involve drilling a hole each into the weakened tree limb and a stronger section of the tree. When performed by a trained professional, this procedure will inflict a minimum amount of damage that the tree will easily be able to heal, a good arborist will never drill more than is necessary.

They then cut the right length of cable or bracing rod, insert it through the holes, and secure it between the tree limbs.

A pulley system can be used to hold the two limbs together in the best position for stability. The cable needs to apply sufficient tension without being too taught. If it’s loose, it won’t provide adequate support. If it’s overtight, it’ll put more strain on the weakened limb and won’t allow the tree to move naturally in the wind.

As well as dealing with primary branches, bracing may be necessary to resolve issues with the trunk of a tree. Tree braces – temporary or permanent – can be used in conjunction with cabling.

Regular Inspections

Trees already supported with cables and bracing rods need to be inspected ever year by a qualified arborist to ensure the system is continuing to work properly. Older tree support systems may need to be replaced after seven to 10 years.

Signs a tree reinforcement system may need attention include:

  • Slack cables.
  • Frayed cables.
  • Stretched cables.
  • Broken tree limbs.
  • Animal such as possums nesting near the support system.

Benefits of Tree Cabling and Bracing

If detected early, structural problems in young trees can usually be addressed by maintenance pruning. Once a tree has matured, though, most structural issues will require cabling/ bracing – the most common form of structural support for trees and a reliable, advanced tree maintenance solution.

Cabling and bracing damaged tree limbs and trunks, when carried out by professional arborists, provides a solution that:

  • Blends in with the trunk and branches.
  • Improves the overall aesthetic appearance of the tree.

Other benefits of tree cabling and bracing include:

  • Preventing injury to people and damage to property.
  • Prolonging the lifespan of the tree.
  • Preservation of healthy tree structure.
  • Protecting the tree from further damage.
  • Saving you money on future tree maintenance.

Training Tree Growth

Cabling and bracing can also be used to train a tree to grow healthily in a desired direction.

Trees naturally grow towards sunlight. Sometimes this will result in a tree encroaching on nearby property or other structures.

If a tree is growing too close to your home, for example, cabling and bracing may be the solution.

Environmental Benefits of Saving a Compromised Tree

The extra strength and support provided by cables and bracing rods can avoid the need to fell a compromised tree and promotes continued healthy development.

Trees are the world’s largest living plants and some can live for thousands of years.

In the face of global warming, trees provide crucial support for the environment by absorbing carbon dioxide and other harmful gases, while releasing oxygen into the air. Trees also help to prevent flash flooding and soil erosion.

Tree canopies trap dust and absorb airborne pollutants, provide shade from solar radiation, and reduce noise.

They also provide a home and food for wildlife such as birds, insects and bats. Trees take many years (often centuries) to develop the hollows required for habitat. It is important to do what we can to retain these veteran trees.

Tree lopping

Do Your Trees Need a Helping Hand?

Tree cabling and bracing helps homeowners keep their trees healthy and safe in the long term.

Trees in your yard have multiple benefits. They provide shade and privacy, enhance the aesthetic value of your property, and support the surrounding ecosystem. Sometimes, though, trees need a helping hand in return in order to stay structurally sound and healthy.

Cabling /bracing provides the solution when pruning wouldn’t be sufficient. These tree reinforcement systems also help to safeguard people and property from damage caused by falling trees or branches.

This is why responsible, safety-minded homeowners look for arborists skilled and experienced in tree cabling and bracing services.

These professionals can:

  • Minimise the risk of failure of structurally damaged or weakened trees that are otherwise healthy.
  • Prolong the life of trees by preventing further damage.
  • Stop trees from becoming a hazard to people and property.

Why Choose Adelaide Hills Tree Services?

Householders in Adelaide Hills and surrounding areas turn to Adelaide Hills Tree Services when they have trees that need a support system.

Our tree cabling and bracing solutions fortify weakened trees to promote healthy long-term growth, prevent safety risks, and avoid damage to property.

Homeowners choose our Adelaide Hills tree cabling and bracing services based on our reputation for:

  • Integrity
  • Reliability
  • Professionalism
  • Friendly, approachable team.
  • Commitment to customer satisfaction.
  • Expertise and experience in tree cabling and bracing.
  • Flexibility – no job too big or too small.
  • Safety – meticulous compliance with work health and safety regulations.

We’ve been providing tree cabling and bracing services for several years, with skilled arborists using only the best equipment.

Contact us today on 0477030266 or contact us online to discover more about how our tree support systems can make your trees safe and promote healthy future growth. We also provide commercial tree cabling and bracing services for businesses in Adelaide Hills.

When Tree Removal May Be a Better Solution

Not all tree health concerns can be addressed with cables and bracing rods, which could result in some trees becoming more decayed.

Professional arborists can tell whether a tree can be preserved by the use of cable and bracing techniques.

If that’s not the case, they’ll likely advise tree removal. Dead and decaying trees can be major hazards on your property and provide a home for many pests. Decaying trees can also become diseased, posing health risks to trees around them.

As responsible arborists passionate about trees, Adelaide Hills Tree Services plants 10 new trees for each mature tree they have to remove as a last resort.