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Why Cable?

  • Thread starter Mr. Sir
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What is the primary purpose of cabling and bracing?

  • To provide an additional profit center

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Bah, cabling is waste of time and money; just remove it

    Votes: 0 0.0%

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    12
M

Mr. Sir

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Some of the comments regarding cabling got me thinking about the purpose of cabling trees. I was taught that the primary purpose of cabling is to provide additional support for a weak crotch or other defect in order to prevent structural failure. Others seem to believe that a cable is meant to "catch" a failing trunk or limb to prevent it from striking a known target. Still others are opposed to cabling based on liability issues. What is the consensus here regarding the purpose of cabling and bracing in trees?
 

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fallguy

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I have a red oak next to my house that has 2 bolts through the trunk below the fork and the crown has been cabled. The work was done 7 years ago. Do I need to have the cabling in the crown redone? Everything seems to be intact yet.
 
M

Mr. Sir

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The cable should be inspected closely for any signs of damage or loss of integrity. Also, check the tree for signs of decay around the eye bolts. If the tree has grown significantly since the cable was installed, it may be necessary to install another cable to maintain the recommended 2/3 distance of the cable from the defect to the top of the crown.
 

Paul B

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I think the difference in terminology is an insurance thing. If you cable a tree and say it is to prevent failure then if it fails, you would be at fault for installing in adequate gear / system. If you say its to 'direct and manage' a failure of limb or trunk perhaps the lawyers can keep you out of trouble if it fails.

At least thats the buzz I have heard locally, I dont know of anyone being challenged for a failed tree after installing a system.
 
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Drella

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My first cable done almost 18 years ago, just needed replaced. It was 3/8 soft- spliced and was ready to fail just at the last splice due to rust. The lags were also able to be easily removed.

The tree was an ancient apple tree, double lead.

Funny, I just spoke with my old boss last week about this and he mentioned the above...
 

treelooker

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Catching and redirecting a failed branch or stem is a possible primary purpose, but preventing failure is by far the most common (>90% of the time for me) reason for cabling.
 
M

Mr. Sir

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So that would mean preventing failure is the PRIMARY purpose, while "catching and redirecting" is a SECONDARY purpose, right? :roll:
 

Old Monkey

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I think cabling is oversold in some markets. If you have a customer that will get follow up inspections and weight reductions, it can be a great tool to extend the enjoyment of a tree. If the customer wants a one time fix, cabling is not appropriate. I am not fond of cabling in my current market as most of the trees that need it are junk trees that would be better off removed and replaced.
 

SkwerI

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Darin is right. I shy away from cabling because most only want a less expensive alternative to removal. They don't care about the tree, only the cost of removing it. The concept that it could still destroy their house after you cable it is lost on them (or perhaps they think it will be my fault?).
 

treelooker

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"If you have a customer that will get follow up inspections and weight reductions,

If a cable is installed, the weight is supported, so why would reduction be needed? Isn't cabling an alternative to reduction?

"If the customer wants a one time fix, cabling is not appropriate."

Most pruned trees need inspection just as often as cabled trees.

"most of the trees that need it are junk trees

What is a "junk tree"? Isn't that the owner's decision?

"
... perhaps they think it will be my fault?).
You have nothing to fear, IF your work is up to standard.

"So that would mean preventing failure is the PRIMARY purpose, while "catching and redirecting" is a SECONDARY purpose, right?"

Well yeah statistically speaking :|:
 

FJR

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I always pay attention to my wording when talking to a client about cabling. I am lowering the risk, I am not completely eliminating the risk. I don't like any of the poll options.

I would click "To lower the risk of failure".
 

TC3

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I'd be curious to know how many people here have cabled a tree that had no target(s) ? I've only cabled / braced a few signature-type trees that had no target that people wanted to try to save. The rest were what I considered hazard trees. It's admirable that folks want to try to extend the life & enjoyment of a tree, and hardly ever dictated by a budget comparison against removal.
A redirect is the main concern for me, and it's what I tell my customers. It's not 'if' a tree will fail, it is more likely 'when'. Trees that are cabled for "extra insurance" against failure fosters ignorance & feeds off fear.
Just my .02
 

sotc

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im very careful to tell customers that the cable is to minimize the chance of failuer, it can still fail and while the cable may hold a failed limb that it isnt designed to
 
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Frans

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1. statistical odds of true follow up care: little to none
2. having a customer sign a 'waiver' detailing that the cable is only to minimize the chance of failure is not even worth the paper it was written on
3. cabling, in the legal world, admits that the tree is compromised. Should a failure occur, the lawyers follow the 'blame lines' which is the professional who installed the cable
4. When a property changes hands, all bets are off regarding follow up care
 

Old Monkey

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What is a "junk tree"? Isn't that the owner's decision?
Siberian elms and globe willows are the most likely split trees around here. A junk tree, to me, is one that has poor form and/or is of an unreliable species.
 

treelooker

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snarf I agree with 1,2 and 4, but this
...
3. cabling, in the legal world, admits that the tree is compromised. Should a failure occur, the lawyers follow the 'blame lines' which is the professional who installed the cable
...
sounds paranoiac :\:. If failure occurs, those blame lines go all over the map.

Professionals who work to standard have nothing to fear. :)

We disclaim: There is no warranty or guarantee, expressed or implied, that problems or deficiencies of the plants or property in question may not arise in the future.
 

treelooker

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A junk tree, to me, is one that has poor form and/or is of an unreliable species.
Poor form can be corrected--isn't that a big reason why we prune? ;)

Lots of oaks and maples etc here show a predisposition to codoms and included bark. Culling is the answer if young, but for trees that the owner values, other answers should be explored, cabling being one.

What makes a species unreliable?
 

brendonv

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I wrote the estimate this morning

"install cable in xyz to lower the risk of failure as its a co-dom with included bark, and to catch a falling stem should failure occur".
 

TC3

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O.K., more ArborBitch talk >>> CATCH ??? Is there a net big enough to do this ??? Maybe a giant pair of open arms ?
REDIRECT a falling / failed lead.
 

sotc

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i never say catch, is the other lead strong enough to hold it when the but drops and the branch come slinging back?
 
T

Tom Dunlap

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  • #23
Not 'prevent'..reduce the chance of failure. We should never sell 'safety' pruning/cabling etc. We should deal with 'risk management'.

All three and more reasons are valid.

Read this book, especially the chapter on cabling, to have a better understanding of how the profession looks at Urban Tree Risk Management:

http://tinyurl.com/5vvswv

For years I've asked to see references to any lawsuits being brought to court because of this myth that is being nurtered about assumued liability from cabling/bracing. Show me...

Not cabling and having a tree fail is a more likely base for a liability suit. Since we have the A300 Cabling and Bracing standard it would be very easy to show negligence if all of the skills of the profession aren't used.

Referencing the UTRM book adds more credibility to the issue. This morning I found this page. Our 'product' is tree care...look at how the law looks at liability and accepted trade practices:

http://www.alanmcgrathlawoffice.com/pl.html
 

treelooker

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evidence of industry standards, customs and practices is often highly probative when defining a standard of care.

When in doubt, read the directions! :D

and follow them 8)
 
B

Bounce

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  • #25
I'm with Tom on this one. I think a lot of the work we do is intended to reduce risk, including removal of deadwood, thinning, crown reductions, etc. Just because we're doing something to reduce risk does not necessarily admit liability if failure occurs. When you go to the dentist and get a filling, he does not gaurantee that filling will last forever. Any time you work with dynamic living systems such as trees, change over time is a certainty. If the lawyers want to pretend otherwise, it shouldn't be too hard to prove them wrong.
 
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