How to Cable a Tree

how to cable a tree What is Tree Cabling? Enhancing Tree Safety and Structure

Tree cabling is a lesser-known preservation technique, utilized by professional arborists to provide support to trees that may be prone or at risk of failure. Tree cabling serves to limit the movement of a branch concerning the tree’s overall structure. It is commonly used to reduce the risk of branch breakage by installing cables at weak crotches. Additionally, overextended branches are provided with support through the installation of cables. There are a number of different support systems for tree care applications, but tree cabling is the most common and widely used within the tree care industry by leading tree experts. Cable systems are either static (steel) or dynamic (rope) systems that are installed in the upper canopy to add support and reduce risk. Seeking a professional arborist evaluation and recommendation in Oregon is the best way to determine what your tree needs for overall health and longevity.

Jump to: What Does Cabling a Tree Do?, Strengthening Trees with a Tree Cable Support System, How To Cable A Tree, What You’ll Need: Tree Cabling Supplies, Aftercare For Your Trees: Tree Cabling Services to Ensure Long-Term Health

What Does Cabling a Tree Do?

A tree support system’s main purpose is to provide additional support or limit the movement of a tree or tree part. They do not provide primary support to a tree. A cable system is typically used to support weak unions and long heavy limbs. Oftentimes, 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 tree’s 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.

Strengthening Trees with a Tree Cable Support System

There are two types of tree cable support systems: static and dynamic. Static systems are composed of steel cables 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. Again, an Oregon arborist can best determine what type of system should be used, depending on the tree’s needs and risk.

How To Cable A Tree

Cabling a tree is a technique used to provide structural support to a tree that may be at risk of splitting or breaking due to weak or damaged limbs. Cabling a tree can be an effective way to preserve its health and prevent potential hazards, but it’s important to approach the task with care and knowledge. If you’re unsure about any aspect of tree cabling, it’s advisable to consult with a certified arborist to ensure the safety of both the tree and those around it.

Here’s how to cable a tree:

    1. Safety First: Always prioritize safety when working with trees. Use proper safety gear and consider consulting with a professional arborist for assistance if the tree is particularly large or complex.
    2. Assess the Tree: Examine the tree to identify weak or damaged limbs that require support. Focus on branches that could pose a threat to property or safety if they were to break.
    3. Select Cabling Points: Determine where you’ll install cables. Typically, you want to choose two sturdy limbs, preferably with a wide crotch angle, to serve as anchor points. These limbs should be able to support the weight of the branches you’re cabling.
    4. Measure Cable Length: Measure the distance between the two anchor points to determine the length of cable you’ll need. Make sure to add some extra length for adjustments and wrapping.
    5. Drill Holes: Use the drill to create holes through the selected limbs. These holes should be large enough to accommodate the cables and hardware. Make sure the holes are aligned and level.
    6. Thread Cables: Pass one end of the cable through the hole in the first limb and secure it with a thimble and cable clamps. Repeat this process for the second limb.
    7. Tighten Cables: Use a wrench or socket set to tighten the cables gradually. The goal is to create tension without damaging the tree. Be careful not to over-tighten.
    8. Adjust Cables: Observe the tree’s response to the tension in the cables. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure that the limbs are adequately supported and that the tree remains stable.
    9. Trim Excess Cable: Once you’re satisfied with the cable tension and the tree’s stability, trim any excess cable beyond the cable clamps.
    10. Prune Weakened Branches: While you’re cabling, it’s a good opportunity to prune any weak or damaged branches. This reduces the weight on the tree and helps prevent future issues.
    11. Inspect Regularly: Periodically inspect the cabling system to ensure that it remains effective. Adjust the tension as needed and replace any damaged hardware.

What You’ll Need: Tree Cabling Supplies

    • Tree cabling kit (includes cables, hardware, and thimbles)
    • Drill with appropriate bits
    • Wrench or socket set
    • Pruning shears
    • Safety gear (gloves, safety glasses, helmet)

Aftercare For Your Trees: Tree Cabling Services to Ensure Long-Term Health

Tree cable support systems need to be periodically inspected by an expert arborist. Scheduling inspections and follow-up maintenance on tree cables is important. Regular maintenance of a tree cabling support system will help maintain its effectiveness and durability. Tree cable systems are designed to be a long-term benefit to the tree’s health. The length of time between maintenance should be determined by your local arborist, but should not normally be any longer than 5 years.

If you have any questions, require further information, or wish to schedule our nearby professional tree cabling services, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Our team is dedicated to ensuring the well-being and longevity of your trees, and we are here to provide expert guidance and assistance. Feel free to contact us at Urban Forest Pro to discuss your specific tree cabling needs. We look forward to serving you and your trees with the utmost care and expertise.

Check out what Jasun had to say about us on Google:

“Superb customer service throughout the process. From the free initial consultation, to scheduling, to the day of. Dalton and Shaden did a fantastic job pruning and cabling my sugar pine that was split at the base. Super friendly and explained all the work being done. I would highly recommend.”


(Sept 26, 2020)

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