Seven-strand, left-hand lay, corrosion-resistant, utility-grade steel cable has long been the staple of tree cabling in the US. A process first practiced in the early 1900’s, this method of cabling remains largely unchanged from its original format. Steel cabling is performed within tree canopies as a method of securing tree parts to one another as supplemental support to resist ice loads and wind forces, yet can provide no guarantee to save, hold together or especially reverse defective growing trends for the tree.
Common-grade cable is malleable so that it can be spliced by hand (self-wrapped around a thimble) while extra-high-strength cable (EHS) is stronger but significantly stiffer and cannot be hand-spliced. EHS is required when utilizing Rigguy wire stops. For all such connections, it is imperative that a heavy-duty thimble is used in all eye splices to reduce the chance of abrasion failure.
For anchoring cable ends, we recommend eye bolts installed completely through the target branch with a washer under the nut. Some companies have abandoned use of J-lags altogether due to their minimal holding power, especially in potentially hollow limbs.
Although many arborists believe that static cabling systems are the answer to all structural flaws requiring supplemental support, we would encourage practitioners to closely examine the long-term goals the customer anticipates for any cable installation and learn more about dynamic options. In other words, are customers informed that artificial restraint requires periodic inspection (as outlined in the ANSI A300 standard)?
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