How Cabling and Bracing Strengthens Trees

And Why a Professional Should Help


Sometimes trees need a little support to make it through a harsh season. The process of cabling and bracing helps to strengthen trees that are weak from damage or not structurally sound. But what is cabling and bracing? And how exactly does it help?

What is Cabling and Bracing

The way you support the branches and trunk of your tree will depend on what issue needs to be fixed. Cabling and bracing requires the use of steel cables, rods, and bolts to help support a tree, its trunk, and branches.

Flexible steel cable is attached between branches to help fix them in place and reduce stress on weaker branches or crotches. Trees are even cabled together for added support. Cables typically accompany brace rods during the strengthening process.

Bolts or threaded rods help to brace weak or split crotches, unite split trunks or branches, and hold rubbing limbs together or apart. Brace rods are installed in one of two ways:

  1. A rod is bolted through the problem spot with a nut on the other side of the trunk or branch.
  2. The rod is threaded into the tree at what’s called a dead-end.

How Cabling and Bracing Helps

Harsh weather conditions, poor pruning, and disease can all cause trees to lose large limbs, split, or potentially fall over. The risk of a falling tree causing damage to your property increases the longer a problem is ignored.

Trees can also naturally form codominant, or V-crotch trunks. This is when multiple trunks join in the middle of a tree. As each trunk grows, it weakens the point where they join which can eventually split open. The greater the V angle, the higher the risk for structural failure. These trees require regular pruning to keep the weight evenly distributed.

Extra long limbs with heavy foliage at the end are easily broken off. The risk increases during a storm when wind twists the limbs even more, or heavy snow and ice add more weight.

Professional Cabling and Bracing

Any work done on an already weakened tree should be taken care of by a professional arborist. Support systems are easy to implement by professionals once a consultation is done on the tree.

Cabling and bracing techniques help stabilize trees that are at high risk of falling over. It’s often seen as an alternative to tree removal. But done incorrectly it can cause more harm than good.

A professional should also return to check on the progress and reassess any cable or brace rod position. If there are any trees on your property that could use some support, contact Elite Tree Care with questions and for a consultation.

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