The snowstorms that we experience here in Wisconsin are both beautiful and hazardous. In the same regard, snow building up on trees is something that can cause serious issues to their structure. In addition, structural failure of branches, trunks, and roots can lead to bigger problems like property damage and injuries to people; which is why tree cabling and bracing must be completed.
A tree support system’s main purpose is to provide additional support or limit movement of a tree or tree part. They do not provide primary support to a tree. Typically, a cable system is used to support weak unions and long heavy limbs. Often times, limbs or trees are cabled to reduce the risk posed to people or property. A tree cable system can be arranged in various configurations to best suit the trees support needs. They act as an extra measure of safety to preserve and maintain trees in our urban environment but not a guarantee of safety.
What causes a tree’s structure to become weak? There are a few cases in which this can happen:
- Limbs that are cracked or split
- Areas of decay
- Insufficient root system
- Branching inconsistencies
- Improper pruning
If a tree experiences one or several of these symptoms, there is always a risk of structural failure. Leaving these warning signs alone can result in large branches, trunks, or entire trees plummeting to the ground. Anyone and anything in their paths can suffer significant damage. While you can determine some of these issues yourself, it’s best to call in a professional to evaluate the extent of the issue. They can then determine what’s needed to restore their structural integrity through tree cabling and bracing.
Tree cables and bracing rods are used to provide additional support to a structure that’s weak. For example, cables that are strategically placed between limbs can assist in distributing the load of the weight more evenly. Bracing rods are used to bolt splitting limbs together. Though cables and rods provide additional support, this does not eliminate the possibility of a tree coming down due to a weak structure.
Bracing doesn’t only apply to adult trees that have become weak. New trees in which are naturally more vulnerable are protected during harsh weather conditions by tree cabling and bracing. Once they’re in place, tree cabling and bracing hardware should be inspected every year to ensure your tree structure remains stable.
There are two types of cable systems: static and dynamic. Static systems are composed of steel cable and hardware. Dynamic systems are composed of non-invasive, rope-like materials. Steel (static) systems were traditionally used, before the introduction of dynamic systems. Steel cable is often times used in very failure-prone applications where system longevity and strength are necessary.
Dynamic systems also provide great, high strength support and risk reduction in trees. The science behind dynamic systems is to allow for more natural movement in the tree, while providing enough support in the canopy to reduce the risk of failure.
Tree cable systems need to be periodically inspected. Regular maintenance to a tree cabling system will help maintain its effectiveness and durability. Tree cable systems are designed to be a long-term benefit to the tree’s health.