Bracing and/or cabling are procedures used to provide additional support to trees that have structural weaknesses that could cause them to split apart. These weaknesses may be genetically related or induced by decay or excessive growth and weight.
Cabling: A support line appliance: either a steel cable comprised of multi-stranded high strength steel wires twisted together to form one cable or a strand of high strength rope-like material, both of which are designed specifically for securing tree segments together. One of the most vulnerable segments of a tree is where steeply angled vertical crotches of heavy limb sections join the trunk or where multiple trunks join together. Under heavy weather, these weakly attached segments are subjected to tons of torque and can split apart much like snapping a wishbone. To reduce this vulnerability, we install one of these systems high in the canopy of the tree to link these vulnerable segments together. These support systems serve as shock absorbers linking the vulnerable segments of the tree together thus preventing them from gaining opposing momentum in storms and splitting apart. Cabling is not a panacea. Although it will significantly reduce the potential of the tree splitting apart in heavy weather, it does not eliminate preexisting decay or genetically predisposed structural weaknesses. Therefore, we usually recommend pruning the vulnerable segments in conjunction with the cabling to further compensate for the weakness and reduce the potential of splitting. Cabling not only bolsters the treeís structural integrity, it also enables the preservation of the esthetic shape of the tree by not having to remove large segments that would otherwise misshapen and unbalance the tree.
Bracing: The installation of a steel rod thru a vulnerable crotch or just above it reducing the chance of the tree segments splitting apart. This is normally performed in conjunction with cabling and can further stabilize the crotch, thus allowing new callous tissue to form protective closure over the fracture. Normally, a hole is drilled through the affected areas, a thru-bolt installed between them, and washers and nuts applied to both ends and tightened to complete the process.