How to Protect Your Trees with Cabling

September 28, 2009

While the impact of a severe storm on a tree is unpredictable, Steve Nagy, Davey Tree Service expert and ISA Certified Arborist, will explain several things you can do to help protect your trees – one of which involves placing a cable or cables in the tree.  

What is cabling and why cable trees? 

Cabling is the installation of flexible steel strand cables in trees to reduce stress damage from high winds, the weight of ice or snow, and heavy foliage.  Essentially what we are doing is strengthening weak tree branches or limbs so that they are better able to withstand severe weather and to improve their longevity. The goal is to transfer the weight from a weak branch to a stronger one, preventing breaking limbs

Key steps to installing a cable properly: 

1. Proper height: Make sure the cable is installed 2/3 diameter of the crotch of the tree you are trying to protect 
2. Properly pruned: Prune the tree’s outer branches to reduce some of the outer weight
3. Proper installation of the cable: The lags have to be installed at the proper angles and the proper depths

Cable installation is a process best completed by licensed arborists.  Maintenance following cable installation is minimal but also important, and the hardware should be inspected periodically. 

As with any tree, you’ll want to monitor its condition, and implement good cultural practices like proper pruning, watering and fertilization, to ensure the health of your newly strengthened tree.

For more information on cabling or seasonal tree care tips, visit

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