Tree Support Systems

Improve the structural integrity of your trees

Tree Support Systems

Tree cabling and bracing can protect and improve your trees' structural integrity. The experts at First Choice Tree Care use the latest cabling and bracing techniques to address splitting limbs and trunks. A certified arborist can best determine if your tree(s) will benefit from one or more support systems.


Often, trees can develop structural problems such as weak branch attachment (branch crotches that are too narrow), co-dominant leaders (two or more competing trunks), or significant splits or cracks between branches or between the trunk and branches. Such situations greatly increase the likelihood that the tree will break at these weak spots due to the weight of the limbs themselves or because of loads put on them by strong winds, snow, or ice. Pruning, combined with various bracing techniques, has been developed to help support these structural problems and prolong the tree's useful life.

Cobra Tree Cable & Brace Support

Cables and Bolting

Weak trees are supported by cabling alone or by both bolting and cabling. In cabling, high-strength steel cables are installed high in the tree's crown to join two or more weakly attached parts of the tree. The cables provide physical support to the limbs when they are placed under stress or strain.

Bolting your tree involves the installation of large-diameter threaded steel rods through the union of weak or split trunks or branches. When bolting, a hole is drilled through the weak branch union; a long threaded rod is inserted through the hole, and washers and nuts are placed on both threaded ends of the rod. Depending on the split or seam length, more than one bolt may be required. Cables are typically used in conjunction with the installation of bolts.

When bolting and cabling, some pruning is done to reduce the weight of the branches to be supported.

Dynamic Bracing

We prefer to employ dynamic bracing (COBRA®) in situations where a tree is prone to cracking, but has not actually started to come apart. Cobra tree bracing is a unique and dynamic structural reinforcement technique used to offer support for trees. It is designed to be shock-absorbing and flexible, helping to enhance tree health without causing any damage. The Cobra Bracing System is one of the best tree bracing systems in the world and is used by leading arborists and conservationists. It is designed not to damage trees with invasive bracing rods and allows for both dynamic and static braking systems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Arborists are trained professionals that are knowledgeable and equipped to provide proper tree care. They are specially trained to provide a variety of services to maintain trees. ISA Certified Arborists are individuals who have achieved a level of knowledge in the art and science of tree care through at least three years of experience and have passed a comprehensive examination. They are also required to continue their education in order to maintain their certification, ensuring their knowledge is updated on the latest arboriculture techniques. ISA Arborist Certification is a non-governmental voluntary process that operates without the mandate of law. It is an internal self-regulating device administered by the International Society of Arboriculture. Certification provides a measurable assessment of an individual's knowledge and competence required to provide proper tree care.

The type and frequency of tree care depend on the species, age, location, climate, and other factors that affect the tree's growth. The first step is to educate yourself about your trees and understand their needs. It is imperative to understand that proper tree care is a lifelong process and that planting and caring for a tree is a long-term commitment. A Certified Arborist can create a management plan to best suit the needs of each individual tree in your landscape.

Topping is the indiscriminate cutting of tree branches to stubs or lateral branches that are not large enough to assume the terminal role. Other names for topping include "heading," "tipping," "hat-racking," and "rounding over." Topping is perhaps the most harmful tree pruning practice known. It is usually done to reduce the size of a tree. Often, homeowners top their trees because they feel that they have become too large for their property and are a hazard. However, topping will make a tree more hazardous in the long term and is very harmful to the health of a tree. No educated arborist would ever "top" a tree. "Pollarding," often confused with topping, is an ornamental style of pruning popular in Europe, which involves annual trimming of the new shoots.

Mulches are organic materials placed over the soil surface to maintain moisture. Mulching is extremely beneficial to trees. It can reduce water loss from soil, minimize weed competition, and improve soil structure. Properly applied, mulch gives landscapes a healthy dose of benefits for your trees.

As soon as you notice any abnormality in your tree's appearance, you should begin a careful examination of the problem. Insects and diseases can threaten a tree's health. You should contact a Certified Arborist for assistance immediately. By identifying the specific symptoms of damage and understanding the causes, they will be able to diagnose the problem and recommend appropriate actions for treatment.

Trees are essential to our world, offering a wide range of environmental benefits. However, trees become hazardous liabilities if they fall and injure people or damage property. Proper, constant maintenance will help prevent and identify when a tree becomes dangerous. Evaluating the seriousness of a tree's condition is best done by a Tree Risk Assessment Qualified (TRAQ) Arborist.

One of the best websites for consumer tree care information is For personalized service and detailed information pertaining to your trees, it is best to contact an ISA Certified Arborist to schedule a consultation. For a nominal fee, a Certified Arborist can provide you with a wealth of information, including tree identification, proper pruning, insect and disease problems, and soil nutrition.

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