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Cabling & Bracing

Tree Cabling & Bracing in Ottawa

If you are considering tree cabling, bracing, turn to the ISA Certified Arborist and ISA Certified Tree Workers at Campbell Tree Experts Inc. in the Ottawa area. Our skilled professionals can determine if these applications will benefit your trees. It’s important to remember that any time hardware is installed, there will be wounding in the tree and a risk of decay.

Ideally, cables and braces will provide extra support by limiting the movement of limbs. Our goal is to reduce the risk of failure and extend the life of your trees. Before beginning, we will determine if the root system is structurally sound and if your tree contains excessive decay. We can’t make a hazardous tree safe by using cables. In some cases, a removal may be advised.

With over 25 years’ experience, Campbell Tree Experts Inc. have noticed that trees with defects such as splits, cracks, decay, weak branch unions benefit more from Static System such as Cables and Rods compared to Dynamic Systems that are loosely installed and most professionals to date have not yet proven these systems.

See our team in action

Using Cables

Campbell Tree Experts Inc. can install cables to limit the movement of limbs with weak connections or to support heavier limbs by connecting 2 or more limbs. You might need additional support for the following reasons:

  • Split or decayed crotches
  • Crotches with included bark
  • Inherent risk of weak-wooded trees


If you have branches that are potentially hazardous to property or people, cabling may be a solution. Multi-stemmed trees are often candidates for cabling as they are susceptible to high winds and the weight of ice or snow.

Cabling between branches

Pruning is typically done prior to any installation to remove hazardous limbs and to reduce the weight of limbs that need cabling. Keep in mind that cables, even when used with braces, have limitations.

Adjusting tension with a wrench

Hardware – Lag Hooks

Campbell Tree Experts Inc. can install lag hooks into a pre-drilled hole. As a general rule, the hole should be 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch smaller than the lag. The lag hook should be installed so that the J-loop is vertical, either facing up or down. The open end should just be contacting the bark.

Our certified Ottawa arborists will take care to not damage the bark. If the lag can only be installed at an angle, and the screw cannot be installed completely, we may use other anchoring hardware such as an eye bolt.

Cable Installations

When placing the cable, Campbell Tree Experts Inc. will determine the length from the weak crotch or defect to the end of the limb. Generally, we will go 2/3 of the way up the limb from the weak area. The location of your lateral branches and the nature of your defect will help determine the exact spot. The point of attachment will be carefully selected to ensure it is solid enough to support the hardware.

We will consider the angle of the cable and the distance from the crotch to ensure a strong and effective installation. Ideally, the cable should be installed perpendicular to an imaginary line that bisects the crotch. The pull of the cable should be in direct line with the lag or bolt.

Multiple Cable Installations

The technicians at Campbell Tree Experts Inc. are skilled in multiple-cable installations. This is commonly done in a triangular system. If more movement is wanted, we can use a box-style installation. We will pay special attention when placing more than one cable into a limb to ensure there is adequate space between hardware installations. Cables should never rub against wood or each other and only one cable should be attached to an anchor.

Follow-Up Required

Your cable installations will need to be inspected periodically for the following:

  • Structural integrity of the tree and limbs
  • Condition of the hardware and support systems
  • Tension of the cable
  • Position of the cable


Upon inspection, it may be determined that a new cable is needed higher in the tree. Pruning may also be necessary to remove excess weight and wind resistance.

Tree Bracing with a rod

Bracing Installations

Campbell Tree Experts Inc. can install bracing in your tree to reinforce weak or split crotches and to strengthen decayed areas. Typically, we use bracing in conjunction with cabling. This process involves the placement of steel rods in limbs, leaders or trunks, giving your tree the support it needs.

When installing a single rod to support a crotch that is not split, the rod should be placed above the crotch. We may advise installing additional braces below the crotch. If the crotch is split, we advise using braces below the crotch and through the split.

Campbell Tree Experts Inc. may advise the use of multiple bracing rods that are properly staggered to ensure the success of your installation and the health of your tree.

Cabling & Bracing in Action

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