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What is Cabling and Bracing a Tree? (What to Expect)

February 15, 2022

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Cabling and bracing trees is a systematic and proactive approach for supporting a tree whose structure is inadequate or weak. It's typically used to protect your tree from stress caused by high winds, ice or snow, and heavy foliage.

Tree professionals employ cables and brace rods as structural supports for three reasons.

  • Cables and braces can prevent an otherwise healthy tree with a substantial structural weakness, such as huge limbs with V crotches, from dying or "failing."
  • They can support a wounded tree as it heals, such as a huge tree that has lost one of its leader branches in a storm.
  • They can reduce the dangers posed by a large tree to avoid harming its surroundings.

Certain tree species that develop wide, numerous, or broken trunks or have vast, open canopies may benefit more from cabling and bracing trees than others. Texas Red Oak, Live Oak, Pecan, River Birch, and other trees are examples of this type.

tree cable and bracing

Cabling a Tree 101

Traditionally, cabling was accomplished by drilling holes in the trunk or branches of a tree and inserting a steel cable through them. Synthetic cables have become more popular in recent years. It is more advantageous because it simplifies the task and is non-invasive (no more drilling into the tree).

Splicing is a method that manipulates the cable to produce a loop around one branch, then the other, to alleviate the issue of a narrow V-crotch with synthetic cables. Each loop has an expansion insert to provide for potential branch growth. An anti-abrasion hose is also incorporated in each loop, reducing rubbing where the loop meets the tree. For added protection, a shock absorber has been added. Once the two loops, which connect the two branches, are in place, the material provides stability against abrupt motions induced by heavy winds while remaining flexible enough to allow for leeway.

Around the bottom part of the trunk, braces give even more stiff support for a tree. It supports weak crotches and protects the trunk from twisting in windy conditions. Steel rods are strung through clusters of split trunks, weak branches, or several stems to form braces.

Cabling trees together is one of the tree-cabling systems that some tree companies will use. The tree cabling supplies and tree cabling kit that recognized professionals possess to ensure that the process can be completed properly. It makes it a win when considering the tree cabling pros and cons. Remember, it's never a DIY job, anyway. You want an expert to assist with the complicated project.

Does cabling hurt a tree?

Cabling a tree correctly keeps it healthy and secure. On the other hand, poor tree cabling can kill a tree, especially a young one. It is essential to have specialists with the necessary knowledge and equipment to cable any trees safely.

How much does cabling a tree cost?

Professional tree maintenance services or qualified arborists do tree cabling and charge an hourly or set rate for their services. According to HomeAdvisor, the average flat charge for tree cabling runs from $200 to $500, depending on the size of the tree and other criteria (type of cabling, position of the tree and ease of access, supplies needed for the job, crew members needed, and additional services).

How long does cabling and bracing trees last?

Cables can last 20 to 40 years, but experts should inspect them to ensure the hardware, cable, and tree parts are in good condition. A growing tree may require a new cable in the future for better leverage.

Keeping a Tree From Splitting

The growth patterns of many trees are diverse and unpredictable. Some trees have a single trunk, but others may grow quickly before forking off into two tree trunks that rise into the sky. When a tree forks on your property, there are several things to look for to ensure the tree's and the surrounding area's safety and protection.

Here are several treatments for forked trees to keep them healthy:

Tree Cabling & Bracing

Cabling can keep the forks from splitting when a tree splits into two forks. To offer a forked tree the best chance of survival, professionals frequently combine the use of tree cables with the application of a growth regulator. An experienced tree expert will determine the optimal place for cable installation. Some trees may necessitate the use of many wires. The trees will organically develop to follow the pattern established by the cables over time.

tree cabling rhode island

Removing a Half-Tree

When a trunk splits, you want both pieces to develop in the same direction upwards. Some trees grow unevenly, with one side growing at an extreme angle. As the tree grows, the angled development of the trunk exerts steady pressure on the tree's fork, which may eventually split open due to the pressure.

Tree services allow you to cut down only part of the tree. Half-tree removal eliminates the need for full-tree removal, allowing the remaining tree to grow and thrive.

If you're not sure if each side of a forked tree poses a risk to your home, a tree expert may do a thorough inspection and inform you of any potential issues.

 Tree Growth Regulators

The dangers of a split only rise as a forked tree becomes taller. Consider using tree growth regulators if the tree is currently safe. The regulators are injected into the soil beneath a tree's roots. The sort of regulator used depends on the tree species.

The regulator, once administered, prevents the tree from growing. You won't have to worry about the forks of the tree growing too huge or splitting apart. According to certain research, regulators can also help prevent disease in trees. Trees that have been given a growth regulator will stay sturdy and healthy while not becoming too big.

As the injections wear off, a tree service can apply a growth regulator once a year or as needed.

pruning a tree


One of the most basic treatments for a forked tree is tree pruning. To keep the tree healthy and avoid any threats, tree professionals will remove huge branches and other features.

When one portion of a tree has more branches than another, pruning is a good option. Pruning will keep the tree equally cut and prevent the fork from becoming overly heavy on one side. An even trim will ensure that the tree grows without noticeable alterations. New branches may grow back in some circumstances, and the pruning operation may need to be repeated every few years or so.

A forked tree does not always pose a threat; therefore, a thorough professional inspection will help homeowners determine whether any of these measures are necessary.

For more information, reach out to our experts at Rhode Island Tree Removal.

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