Trees with poor structure, such as long, heavy branches or an imbalanced canopy, are more likely to split apart or break from high winds or heavy snow. Structural support can keep them intact and make them safer.

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Signs that Your Tree Needs Structural support

Over time, many trees (especially those that haven't been properly pruned) develop structural weaknesses, such as:

large, heavy, or multiple stems

an imbalanced or lopsided tree canopy

branches that move around too much, making them particularly vulnerable to breakage from strong winds

tight crotches or upright branches that aren't well attached to the main tree trunk, making them more prone to splitting in half (Bradford pear trees are notorious for this)

These are all situations where structural support, such as cabling or bracing, can help protect your tree and save your property from damage.

Cabling & Bracing for Tree Safety & Support

What Is Cabling? Bracing?

Simply put, cabling and bracing are ways to hold your tree together so it doesn't drop branches or split apart.


Tree Cabling

When structural issues are identified, we may recommend installing a high-strength tensile steel cable in the upper crown of the tree. Cabling prevents branches from moving around as much - as a result, they're less likely to break during a storm. The cables are attached to the tree using bolts installed through the branches.


Tree Bracing

Bracing involves installing a long threaded rod through several branches or stems where they're weak and likely to split. The rod gives more support than a cable and limits the degree of twisting that can happen during violent weather.

Our arborists use approved materials and techniques that conform to all professional ANSI industry standards.

FAQs About Cabling & Bracing Trees for Structural Support

When your tree has structural issues that can’t be resolved by pruning, but you don’t want to remove the tree, adding cables or bracing it with rods may be the answer. Not everyone is familiar with this arboricultural practice, however, so we’ve included some frequently asked questions, along with our answers, below.

My tree’s trunk has split apart. Can it be saved?

Depending on how significant the split is, the arborists at Independent Tree may be able to help trees with split trunks by the use of cabling. During this process, they attach strong cables between the limbs to limit movement, stabilize the tree, and prevent the split sections from separating entirely.

While many trees have a single trunk, others may develop two or more trunks, with those trunks branching off, forming a V. If the angle is less than 45 degrees, the structure of the tree is considered weak, and cabling may be necessary to prevent it from splitting.

Independent Tree team member attaches cabling in the canopy of an Ohio tree

Our tree has a long, heavy branch that is growing over a pedestrian area. How can we prevent possible future injury to passersby?

While you may think that removing the large branch is the only option, this may be a situation where cabling or bracing may help. These methods can prevent a large branch or even an entire tree limb from falling.

Contact Independent Tree to schedule a consultation to see if tree cabling or bracing would help your tree.

I have a tree that has some structural issues, but I don’t want to remove it. Could cabling and/or bracing help my tree?

We don’t blame you for wanting to save your tree! Trees not only add value to a property, they also benefit the area and people around them. Plus, older trees are the result of investing time, water, and care to help a tree grow and thrive.

Without seeing the condition of the tree, it’s impossible to say with certainty that cabling or bracing will help stabilize a structurally unsound tree. In many situations, these techniques can be helpful but it’s important to first have an arborist assess the tree to make sure that it’s a good candidate for cabling or bracing.

Does cabling hurt a tree?

Not if done correctly. If cabling is done incorrectly, however, it can damage or even kill a tree. This is why it is important to hire tree care professionals, such as those at Independent Tree, to cable your trees.

Cabling can lead to girdling if done incorrectly, where a tree’s growth is impeded by the cables. Improperly anchored cables can come loose (sometimes damaging nearby structures) or break the branch to which they were attached. Knowing where to correctly place cables while preventing girdling over time is one of the benefits of hiring a professional for this task.

Cabling in the canopy of an Ohio tree installed by Independent Tree

Can I add cabling to my tree myself?

We don’t recommend it. Even for smaller trees, the area that usually needs to be cabled is often far up in the canopy of a tree, meaning that at least a ladder is necessary to reach the area. Once you do any work on a tree that is not done from ground level, the chances of injury increase.

Skill and experience are needed to know how and where to properly add cabling and/or bracing to a tree. It also requires specialized equipment and cables that aren’t available in local hardware stores. Many DIY attempts lead to more structural damage, injury, or eventual girdling of the tree.

How long does cabling last?

If done correctly, cabling can last many years, sometimes 20 to 40 years. However, any cabling in a tree should be inspected frequently by an arborist. If a tree is still growing, the tree cabling may need to be redone and replaced every few years.

Are cables and bracing rods a guarantee that my tree won’t fail?

No tree, no matter how well-maintained or supported, is guaranteed not to fail. Cabling and bracing can help extend the life of a tree, sometimes by many decades, but it does not guarantee an everlasting tree.

Given the right circumstances, any tree can succumb to nature. However, cabling and bracing can usually prevent or forestall some of the worst-case scenarios and mitigate safety risks posed by an unstable tree structure.

My tree was cabled, so why don’t I see any wires?

In most cases, you won't notice the cabling at all. In fact, cabling may be very difficult to see in your trees, especially if you don't know what you are looking for.

While cabling is extremely strong and does a great job, it is meant to be inconspicuous so it doesn't take away from the natural beauty of your trees.

We purposefully install the cables to blend in with the tree’s canopy while also ensuring that they are placed in the best spot to support the structure of the tree.

Whether you can spot the cables or not, rest assured that if Independent Tree installed the cabling, the strong wires are there and are doing their job!


Does Your Tree Need Structural Support?

Cabling and bracing should only be installed by a certified arborist after a thorough inspection and evaluation of the tree.

If you notice any signs of structural problems in your trees, give us a call at 440-564-1374.

We'll inspect your trees to see if cabling or bracing can help, or if a corrective pruning program is called for instead. Often, a combination of proper pruning and cabling/bracing can help extend the life and improve the safety of important landscape trees.



If you have cables or braces in your tree, be sure to have a certified arborist inspect it closely every year. A cabling or bracing failure can cause extensive damage but is entirely preventable.

A Real Professional Tree Service


I am very happy and amazed! I was glad I had the opportunity to watch the guys work. I had other tree services in the past, but watching a real professional tree service was a real treat - you can really tell the difference.

Amy S.

Shaker Heights, OH

Call us at 440-564-1374

Our arborists will thoroughly inspect your trees to determine whether they would benefit from cabling or bracing to make them safer and keep them healthy longer.