Does cabling hurt a tree?

trees hiding home

Cabling a home tree

Do you have a favorite tree in your backyard that can’t hold up to the winter winds, or a specially planted tree that hasn’t gotten a stronghold yet? One way that tree experts recommend making a tree stable and stronger is tree cabling. The name is just what it says; It is cabling in a tree or guying a tree, to brace it so it can withstand high winds, kids playing around it, etc. 

There are tree cabling and bracing techniques that have saved many trees around homes, businesses, and in public areas like parks. This is beneficial not only to save the tree itself but for our environment. We need trees for not just shade, but the fruits they may bear and for cleaning our air.

Still, there are many debating tree cabling, pros and cons to either side and with that in mind, we’ve done some research to answer concerns and questions about this practice.  It isn’t something that just any homeowner should try on their own, as it can damage the tree more than it may already be, killing it. There are experts in tree cabling how to and have perfected tree cabling and bracing techniques that will save that favorite or special tree.

What is tree cabling?

Tree cabling is the procedure of stabilizing a formed, mature tree growing that lack sustainability, perhaps it has been hit by lightning and split the trunk. They also do tree cabling for a preventive measure in supporting a large tree ranch that has grown at a tricky angle.

Tree professionals skilled in tree cabling and arborists have tree cabling and bracing supplies, as well as experience and training on how to properly place cables and install tree cabling eye bolts as needed.  When tree cabling is done incorrectly, it results in girdling. Other purposes for tree cabling are:

  1. To save a tree with a compromised branch or trunk, i.e., an open wound, to prevent harmful fungi from entering the tree.
  2. To safeguard its appearance, such as balancing a tree with a missing lamb to keep it from looking lopsided.
  3. Tree cabling is done to redirect a tree from falling on a house or other structure, preventive steps to avoid property damage or growing into a foundation causing it to crack.
  4. If a large and unstable branch is over a street or walkway that poses any risk to those anyone driving down the street or on the walkway, tree cabling is used to secure the limb to the tree.

What does guying a tree mean?

Guying a tree provides its wind protection, allowing it to grow correctly. They typically do this in areas where the winds are dominant, and the trees have heavy tops and the root balls are small.  When trees of this nature do not have proper support, the high winds blow them back and forth and can sever the roots.

A properly installed guying system is three stakes positioned around the tree evenly, with two of them positioned in the direction of the dominant wind to provide resistance. These stakes are hooked guy wires that are attached to the lower tree branches. The guy wires are adjusted by turnbuckles.

trees in a yard

Why do they call it a guy wire?

The name guy wire is defined as a cable, cord, or rope that guides, secure, or steadies something. It is lightweight itself, but when installed properly, it is durable and strong. Guy wires are typically used in radio masts, ship masts, utility poles, wind turbines, as well as, fire service extension ladders and tents.

There are a variety of things to be considered when caring of trees, such as installing a support system like tree cabling. Those considerations have pros and cons in a tree that must be weighed with each step, especially when installing a support system.

The reasons for saving a tree with tree cabling are numerous. It may have a functional value, historic value, monetary value, or sentimental value.  It must be understood that a support system won’t guarantee the tree is saved. Some of the pros and cons of installing a support system are:

Pros:

  • Decrease of failure
  • Life of tree extended
  • Strengthens structure

Cons:

  • Cable dependent
  • Regular maintenance
  • Cost of removal increases
  • The expense of installing a tree cabling system
  • Modification expense
  • Tree dynamics change

If a tree has any value to a homeowner, from monetary to sentimental, tree cabling may worth the expense of installing and the expense and time to perform any necessary maintenance. As we mentioned earlier, trees are essential to our living. They provide shade, fruits, and clean the air we breathe. We can’t, and we don’t need to, save every tree, but we can, we need to do everything we can. A homeowner needs to look at every possibility of what would be better: Cabling a tree or cutting it down and have it removed. Call (817) 717-7737 today for your tree cabling needs in Forth Worth, TX.