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Improving Your Tree's Structural Integrity

Trees can grow in such a manner that their physical structure may not be able to support the growth, leading to structural failure. All trees can fail, given the right circumstances, even those without a structural deficiency.

Structural failure of a large branch, trunk, or root system can result in significant property damage, personal injury, or fatality. It can also cause the decline of a tree’s health over time. Cables and bracing rods are simply tools arborists use to add support to a weak structure.    

Typical hardware used on a larger limb, and typical hardware used on a smaller limb.
Pictured left, typical cabling hardware on a larger limb. Pictured right, typical hardware used on a smaller limb.

Why Cabling and Bracing?

When trees have a poor branching habit, split or cracked limb structures, areas of decay, or a poor root system, there is an increased risk for structural failure. Some tree species produce a heavy crop of fruit or acorns which adds to the potential for structural failure. Improper pruning in the past can also lead to structural failure. When these weak areas fail, large limbs, trunks, or entire trees may come crashing down on anything underneath them.     

In the case of weak limb structures, cables and bracing rods may be installed to offer some support. Properly placed cables between limbs can help redistribute the load of weight, allowing the limbs or trunks to support each other. Bracing rods are often used to support splitting limbs by bolting them together. Though installing rods and/or cables offers additional support, it does NOT offer any guarantee the tree will not fail in the future. Remember that ALL trees can fail given the right circumstances, regardless of their size.    

Our consulting arborists are properly trained in this area of expertise and will be happy to inspect your trees. 

Rod installation by an expert tree climber with Arborilogical Services.
A bracing rod is installed, this rod along with properly placed cables will help to stabilize a vertical split in a tree.

Inspect Tree Cabling and Bracing Hardware Annually

Tree cabling and bracing hardware is subject to the elements as well as the growth of the tree and it should be inspected annually. The normal movement and growth of branches or trunks can cause cables and hardware to wear, reducing their load-carrying abilities. Annual inspections are particularly important when a cable failure might result in property damage or personal injury.   

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