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Tree Support Systems

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In Colorado there are lots of old mature trees that might be posing potential hazards.  As trees age they can develop decay, stress cracks from heavy unpruned ends, and weak crotches from poor structure. It’s common for homeowners to consider removing these old trees once they become aware of the problem.  However, removal is not always the answer.  In some cases, cables, or braces can be installed to reduce the hazards and you can still enjoy your beautiful tree while having the peace of mind that it’s not going to break and cause any damage to your property, neighboring properties, or to people.

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TYPES OF SUPPORT SYSTEMS

Dynamic Cabling: Dynamic cable is a non-rigid synthetic fiber which was developed as an alternative to rigid (steel cable) systems.  Dynamic systems allow the tree to continue to move and grow naturally, except in the event of high winds or heavy snows where they will help support limb failure.  The benefit is, the weak branch location overtime will strengthen by creating what’s called “reaction wood” until it becomes strong enough to support itself.  Another benefit of dynamic cables vs steel cables is that you don’t have to drill holes into your tree to install bolts for support.

Bracing:  Tree braces are metal rods that can be inserted into limbs or trunks to provide support for weak crotches and limbs that have split.  If a tree has multiple leaders growing out of the trunk braces can be an effective way to keep them from splitting apart.

Static Cabling:  Though dynamic cables are overall better for the health of your tree sometimes it’s necessary to use the traditional method of static cabling (or steel cable).  Steel cable is best utilized if there are cracks already present, if the weight of the limbs being cabled is too heavy to be supported by the dynamic cable, or if the tree is in immediate danger of breakage.

Guying:  Guying is most often necessary when planting new trees.  Guys attach ¾ up the trunk and are connected to ground anchors.  They restrict any movement allowing the tree to establish a strong root system.  Typically, guys are removed from newly planted trees within one year of installation. Guying of mature trees is rare. Typically, only old trees with historical importance are candidates.

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