How to support tree limbs


Tree branch support systems | Tree support system

Urban trees often need some degree of supplemental, physical support to reduce the risk of structural failure of the crown or root system. Cabling, bracing, guying and staking can provide a solution for these tree failures. Tree-support systems help support the tree by limiting the movement of branches, leaders or the entire tree. They can reduce the risk of injury to humans and damage to property by providing supplemental support for structurally weak areas of the tree.

The most common risk of tree breakage is the presence of one or more co-dominant stems (Figure 1). Co-dominant stems, or “v-crotches,” are structurally weak compared to a single stem. This is due to the lack of connective tissue anchoring a stem to the tree trunk and the presence of included bark between the stems. The greater the angle of the “v-crotch,” the greater the risk of structural failure. The best solution for problems associated with co-dominant stems is to buy and plant trees with a single leader. An alternative is to remove one of the co-dominant stems as early as possible in a tree’s life, allowing for the development of a single leader. Otherwise, bracing or cabling is required to strengthen the weak area of the tree.

Another condition that often results in structural problems is the presence of long, heavy or “overextended” limbs. These are limbs that are unusually long for the tree species or grow horizontally or downward, with most of the foliage concentrated toward the end of the branch. Breakage resulting from these conditions often occurs at the junction of the branch and stem. Alternately, the branch may crack due to the forces of tension and compression. These failures usually occur when the branch is under heavy loading such as wind, snow or ice. Installation of cables may be used to avoid making large pruning cuts. Early corrective pruning is the best course of action to prevent this condition.

Tree Cabling and Bracing to Support Tree Defects

A. B.C. Consulting Arborists LLC frequently uses tree cabling and bracing as a supportive measure for trees. We are aware of just how damaging the high winds in the Pacific Northwest can be. We live in one of the windiest areas of the country. Young, weak and damaged trees can fall prey to the violent wind conditions we sometimes face. Adding a tree support system can help small or recovering trees until they become established and secure enough to stand up to our extreme weather events. Trees located on slopes or near eroding soil may also need help becoming anchored and solid. Trees may become precariously balanced or unable to support their own weight. In these cases, cabling or bracing may be required.

Tree Support for Continued Growth

Tree cabling or bracing creates a support system for your tree. Tree support systems not only give your tree added strength, they can also give broken or damaged trunks and branches a chance to heal before becoming dangerous or destructive. 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. Your A.B.C. Consulting Arborist can devise a custom support system to meet your specific needs.    

Static Cable & Bracing                                                  Dynamic Cable

Bracing

Bracing is a static system that hold provides rigid support to minimize the amount of movement from torsional or twisting forces that can occur during high winds and violent weather. It generally involves installing threaded steel rods through the junction where a large branch joins the trunk of a tree, or at the crotch in a trunk. This system can also be used to reinforce a trunk that has already begun to split.

Cabling

Cabling involves installing a high strength support to a tree defect, such as weakly attached trunks and over-extended limbs. There are two types of cable systems: Static and Dynamic.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Dynamic: systems are the preferred option for most cabling needs, as they allow natural movement within the tree during normal conditions, and added support during extreme conditions, this system unlike the static system allows the tree to build strength as it responds to natural stressors and the shock absorption qualities reduce the likelihood of failure from sudden wind gusts.                                                                                                                                             Static: systems are generally used to strengthen partially failed tree parts, or tree parts where movement is not desirable. Bracing may also be recommended along with Static cabling. Static cabling is more prone to failure from sudden wind gusts especially if not installed properly, or if used in the wrong application.

 

 

Static cabling systems:

Static cabling systems usually are comprised of steel components and require drilling through the wood to install hardware. Static cabling systems are commonly used in conjunction with bracing after a crack/failure has been initiated in order to minimize movement in damaged areas

Dynamic cabling systems:

Are comprised of engineered materials that allow for installation without damaging the tree (non-invasive). Dynamic systems are intended to allow branches to move naturally while preventing failure under extreme conditions. One method involves placing a support sling around the trunk of a small tree or a large branch. This allows the tree to continue to grow without restriction.

Maintenance:

Tree cable systems need to be periodically inspected by an Arborist. Scheduling inspections and follow-up maintenance on tree cables is important. 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. The length of time between inspections and maintenance should be determined by your arborist, but should not normally be Inspected annually and/or after a significant weather event.

The Certified Arborists of A.B.C. Consulting Arborists LLC can devise a custom supplemental support system for you, using a combination of cables and braces based on a thorough evaluation of your tree, its support needs, location and other important factors.

We are experts in Risk Assessment, Mitigation, Response planning and training.                                                                                                                            Contact us today to discuss the management of your property and tree needs.

Daniel Maple

A.B.C. Consulting Arborists LLC

ISA Certified Arborist/Risk Assessor  ISA # PN-7970A

Email: [email protected]  Phone: (509) 953-0293

 Serving: Washington, Oregon and Idaho

Your guests, adjoining neighbors, passerby’s, and your community thank you

for contribution to a healthier safer environment.! Thanks J

 

 

Tree Support Systems | Tree Care Kit

Wayne K. Clatterbuck Associate Professor Forestry, Wildlife & Fisheries University of Tennessee
David S. Vandergriff, UT Extension Urban Horticulture & Forestry

Urban trees often need some degree of supplemental, physical support to reduce the risk of structural failure of the crown or root system. Cabling, bracing, guying and staking can provide a solution for these tree failures. Tree support systems help support the tree by limiting the movement of branches, leaders or the entire tree. This reduces the risk of injury to humans and damage to property by providing supplemental support for structurally weak areas of the tree.

Common Structural Deficiencies in Trees

The most common risk of tree breakage is the presence of one or more codominant stems. Codominant stems, or “v-crotches,” are structurally weak compared to a single stem. This is due to the lack of connective tissue anchoring a stem to the tree trunk and the presence of included bark between the stems. The greater the angle of the “v-crotch,” the greater the risk of structural failure. The best solution for problems associated with codominant stems is to buy and plant trees with a single leader. An alternative is to remove one of the codominant stems as early as possible in a tree’s life, allowing for the development of a single leader. Otherwise, bracing or cabling is required to strengthen the weak area of the tree.

Another condition that often results in structural problems is the presence of long, heavy or “overextended” limbs. These are limbs that are unusually long for the tree species or grow horizontally or downward, with most of the foliage concentrated toward the end of the branch. Breakage resulting from these conditions often occurs at the junction of the branch and stem. Alternately, the branch may crack due to the forces of tension and compression. These failures usually occur when the branch is under heavy loading such as wind, snow or ice. Installation of cables may be used to avoid making large pruning cuts. Early corrective pruning is the best course of action to prevent this condition.

A third structural problem is a weakly anchored tree. Poorly anchored trees are the result of transplanting a tree with a substandard root ball, a compromised root system with root damage or decay, or planting in shallow or compacted soils. Pruning, tree removal, installation of support devices such as cables, brace bolts and guys, or a combination of these techniques may be recommended.

Tree Support Devices

Brace rods are used when multiple leaders exist in the tree. These rods reduce the risk of the leaders spreading apart or moving sideways in relation to each other. Brace rods are also used to repair a crotch or branch that has split.

Brace rods are typically accompanied by at least one cable for additional support. Brace rods are installed as either a through rod (rod is bolted with a nut on other side of tree or branch) or dead-end (rod is threaded into the tree) configuration.

Cabling restricts the distance that a branch can move in relation to the rest of the tree. Cables are installed across a weak crotch to reduce the risk of a branch breaking. Cables are also installed on overextended branches to support the branch. More than one cable is often necessary in the installation and may be used in combination with brace rods.

Guying is where a cable is installed between the tree and an external anchor to provide supplemental support and to reduce tree movement. Trees with root problems may be guyed to keep them upright and protect potential targets if they fail. Established trees are guyed if they have had some degree of tipping from wind throw and require some support.

Tree staking is used to hold the tree upright and the root ball in place until the roots become established in the surrounding soil. Staking can also be used to straighten the trunk of a young tree or protect the lower trunk from injury. Generally, staking is discouraged because most trees with adequate root systems do not need to be staked at planting. Trees that are staked require constant monitoring and maintenance.

Trees can be staked aboveground or belowground. Aboveground staking should be installed as low in the tree as possible. The root ball can also be anchored belowground by driving metal or wooden stakes along the sides of the root ball about a foot deeper than the root ball. This eliminates the need for aboveground staking and maintenance.

References

Harris, R.W., J.R. Clark and N.P. Matheny. 2004. Arboriculture: Integrated Management of Landscape Trees, Shrubs, and Vines. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. 578 p.

National Arborist Association, Inc. 2000. Support Systems (Cabling, Bracing and Guying Established Trees), ANSI

A300, Part 3. American National Standard for Tree Care Operations – Tree, Shrub, and other Woody Plant Maintenance – Standard Practices. Manchester, NH. 11 p.

Smiley, E.T. and S. Lilly. 2001. Tree Support Systems: Cabling, Bracing and Guying. Best Management Practices Series. International Society of Arboriculture, Champaign, IL. 30 p.

Watson, G.W. and E.B. Himelick. 1997. Principles and Practice of Planting Trees and Shrubs. International Society of Arboriculture, Savoy, IL. 199 p.

Proper supports for trees

Recently I saw a low apple tree in one suburban area, literally strewn with fruits. The plot is small, which is probably why the tree was planted between the gazebo and the fence. Part of the branches with apples lay on the fence, and the other was suspended by wire from the slats of the gazebo. The apple tree, apparently, has been in this state for more than one season, since the wire and the upper metal edge of the fence began to deform the branches.

Undoubtedly, fruit trees need help. To do this, props are installed under strongly bent branches overloaded with fruits, but it is very important to do it right! Wire, strong synthetic twine, metal objects that were next to the branches or trunk literally grow into the wood over time, and then with strong gusts of wind there is a high probability of a break in the places of deformation. The volume of the harvest can be estimated already at the end of June, so it is advisable to prepare the supports in advance, although even now it is possible to help autumn and winter varieties of apple and pear trees to support the fruits until they are ripe.

This is how synthetic twine deforms wood in a few years.

The simplest version of the support is a natural crotch made from a cut branch, you can cut a v-shaped or semicircular recess for a branch or nail (or screw with screws) a small cross to get a cruciform structure. Supports are installed a little further than the middle of the branch with a slight slope towards the trunk.

Pole with plastic tip.

To avoid damage to the tree, soft material (thermal insulation, rubber, dense foam rubber, burlap, etc.) must be glued (or applied) to the part of the support that is in contact with the branch. The lower end of the support is made sharp, so the support will enter the soil and stand firmly in the right place. So that under the weight of the branch with the harvest the support does not fall too deep, a small crossbar is attached from below. The laid part of the tree is fixed with a rope.

Since fruit support will be used almost every year, it makes sense to think about durable structures. For example, it is desirable to impregnate wooden supports with a protective compound that penetrates well into the pores of the wood: paint, commercial wood impregnation, used car oil or old vegetable oil (unabsorbed oil is removed with a rag).

Durable and easy-to-storage supports can be made from plastic pipes, and they can also be made sliding, designed for different heights. To do this, the pipe is cut in half. In those parts that will be directed one to the other, several holes are drilled at approximately the same distance. Both parts are strung on a wooden axis (for example, an old handle from a shovel), fixing the desired length with bolts and nuts. For the telescopic version of the support, pipe sections of different diameters are used, so that one pipe fits well into the other, and the height of the support can also be fixed with bolts. A piece of wooden beam with a prepared place for laying branches is inserted into the upper end of the pipe.

Ready-made telescopic supports are available from gardening centers or online stores, and V-shaped tree-safe tips are also available, which can be inserted into, for example, a shovel handle.

Umbrella support. www.asienda.ru

Interesting "umbrella" support. A metal pipe, on top of which strings of different lengths are fixed (they will hold the branches of the tree), are buried near the trunk of the tree. Overloaded parts of the plant are attached to the strings with loops or rubber rings (or splints).

The ladder structure of the supports resembles a ladder. Several high stakes are buried around the trunk at a distance of about 50 - 80 cm (it can be vertical or with a slight “hut” slope) and the crossbars are attached or tied, on which branches are laid or tied.

Stair construction. agroportal.online.ru

By the way, it is now fashionable to grow fruit trees on trellises that support branches with fruits, but more on this method in one of our next issues.

Fruits, garden, fruit trees, estate

TOP-5 under the fruit trees with your own hands

Content

  1. Rogatin-simple express method
  2. Chatalovka of an umbrella type
  3. Stairs
  4. Opipata Sprink - tripod
  5. Protection against splitting with a ring
  6. The best way for columnar trees

A rare tree is able to support the weight of the crop on its own, more often the branches break, the garden receives irreparable damage. A similar problem is relevant for apple trees, peaches, apricots, cherries, less often for cherries, pears, plums. Experienced gardeners are aware of the threat and stock up on props in the spring.

Let's talk about five common supports for fruit trees and share ideas for other types of structures. With their help, you can protect the branches of fruit trees from damage, and the gardener from losses.

Spear - a simple express method

An experienced gardener always has a pair of spears - long sticks with a fork at the end. With their help, you can quickly support a branch that is about to break under the weight of the fruit. The upper end with a fork is wrapped with a cloth, a bicycle tube, or a cut hose for irrigation is put on the knots. This is necessary to protect the delicate bark of the tree from scuffs.

Rogatin has a number of significant drawbacks:

  • supports only one branch, adjacent ones can break;
  • unstable - can be knocked to the ground by gusts of wind;
  • ugly - the view of the garden will be spoiled.

Metal props welded like a stalk are also not without such disadvantages. Such devices can only be used as temporary.

T-shaped props can also be referred to as spears. Structurally, they are a pole to which a transverse crossbar is nailed or screwed with screws, fixed with additional jibs. Like a stalk, the T-shaped support is unstable, falls during the wind, breaking the plants located under the tree.

Before use in the garden and before storage, it is advisable to disinfect the horns with, for example, a solution of copper sulphate or Bordeaux liquid.

Umbrella-type chatal

Umbrella-type chatal (from the word "chatal" - a pole) is a complex structure that protects the main branches of a fruit tree from breakage. It is a long and strong stake driven or dug into the ground next to a tree. Wire, strong twine, plastic strips, sometimes thin chains are tied or screwed to it.

Instructions for assembling an umbrella box:

  1. Next to the tree trunk, a pole or beam with a section of 100x100 mm is shallowly hammered or buried. It is not necessary to hammer in deeply, after the installation is completed, the structure will stand on its own.
  2. Additionally, the chatalovka is attached to the trunk or skeletal branches with twine in 2-3 places.
  3. At the top of the chatalovka, which should be 10-20 cm higher than the top of the tree, a metal or plastic ring is attached, with a diameter of at least 5 cm (to make it convenient to work).
  4. Guys are tied to the ring. Strong twine or cloth slings work best, but some gardeners use soft steel wire and even chains.
  5. Fasteners fix the branches, slightly pulling them up. It turns out a design similar to the frame of an umbrella, which is why the name.

If the upper branches of the tree are strong enough, you can do without a pole by tying a ring to it. To protect the twigs from damage, they are wrapped in soft cloth, burlap, rubber strips at the points of contact with rings and guy wires. The support can also be left for the winter, it will not allow the branches to break under the weight of snow and ice.

Umbrella Chatalovka is suitable for protecting young or low-growing trees. For the rest, the idea will be laborious.

Stair support

The name of the support stems from its type: two or three poles arranged parallel to each other and fastened with rungs, like a ladder. Unlike horns and T-shaped supports, this design is more stable, and therefore rarely falls even in strong winds.

Ladder support is installed in the following way:

  • choose the branch that sagged the most under the weight of the fruit;
  • lift the branches with the upper edge of the support;
  • the lower edge is set so that the support is at a slight inclination, slightly buried in the ground.

The end result is a stable structure. To prevent the branches from rubbing along the upper crossbar, they are tied with twine or a rubber strip. You can tie several adjacent branches to one collection.

It is desirable to use a strong material, then it can also be used as a ladder for easy harvesting.

Hoop-shaped support

Such a structure is more often used for shrubs - blackcurrant, chokeberry, viburnum, wild rose. But you can also build a prop near young low trees with a compact crown, for example, near columnar and dwarf varieties.

In fact, this is one of the varieties of umbrella chatalovka, but it looks more neat, does not spoil the look of the garden. Install a protective structure as follows:

  1. Take a rim from the wheel of an adult bicycle, an unnecessary gymnastic hoop or make a ring of reinforcement with a diameter of 6-8 mm (for more sprawling trees).
  2. 10-15 cm away from the central trunk, a pointed stake is set, slightly deepening it into the ground (so as not to damage the roots).
  3. A ring is firmly attached to the top.
  4. A hoop is put on top of the tree so that the branches do not break off.
  5. In 2-3 places tie the hoop with ropes to the ring so that the branches rise slightly.

Properly mounted, the pole is integral with the tree, does not fall in strong winds and protects against damage.

Broken branches can also be fixed with this construction so that they have time to harvest.

Tripod support

Sometimes it makes sense to put a support under only one branch, but due to natural conditions, there is no benefit from a stalk. In this case, gardeners make tripod structures that resemble highly elongated pyramids in shape.

For greater stability, the legs should form a triangle with a distance between the vertices of at least a meter. From above, the poles are pulled together with a knitting wire or long screws. Now you can support the branch by tying it with twine for reliability.

If appropriate, the support can be decorated with climbing plants. The main thing is to make sure that the whips do not crawl higher onto the tree.

Split protection ring

The tools listed above will help if the branches are horizontal. But in cases where, due to incorrect or missing crown formation, the branches are located at an acute angle, the supports will be useless. The splits that form in such places must be dealt with differently.

A good way to protect an apple or cherry tree from problems is to put a protective ring made of durable metal. Usually strips of steel are cut, 3-4 cm wide. In order not to damage the delicate bark of trees with sharp edges, each strip is wrapped with cloth or rubber. A hole is drilled along the edges for the diameter of the tightening bolt.

Install protective rings in the spring before buds open. They inspect the tree and, having found a potentially dangerous fork, step back up as far as possible. They are pulled together with a strip so that the formed ring “sits” tightly, does not move up or down.

If it is not possible to tighten the iron strips, protect the branches at the point of contact with the ring.

The best way for columnar trees

Columnar trees have a narrow crown, the branches of which are directed vertically upwards and are located at an acute angle relative to each other.


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