Dynamic cabling systems provide an alternative to the steel (static) cable systems that an Arborist can use to support trees with poor structure.
There are several advantages to a using a dynamic system:
1. The supported stems are allowed to move (within healthy limits) since there is some flex in the rope — this movement stimulates “Reaction Wood”, which will strengthen the joint.
2. Installation requires less tools and is faster and easier than steel cabling.
3. The splice and abrasion sleeve used as an attachment point are less invasive than a j-lag or eye bolt.
4. The materials are less expensive, providing good value to the customer.
That said, there are limitations to a dynamic system:
1. It should not be used when the tree’s structure is compromised. For example, if a visible crack has developed in the joint, or if the wood supporting the joint is decayed, steel cable and a support rod should be installed or the complete removal of the tree should be considered.
2. Arborists must inspect the eye splices every 2-3 years to make sure they are not choking the tree.
3. Synthetic material does not last as long as steel.
Below is a picture of the tools I use to install Branch Saver – I just carry everything in a bucket while in the tree. Tailor’s shears work best for cutting the abrasion sleeves. A long thin stick can be taped to the black rope to feed it through the abrasion sleeves in the tree. The small pointed stick can be fed into the end of the rope and taped to work as a splicing fid — although just taping a point works well enough.
When installed in the tree the cable should be taut, but not torquing the branch union. The way I set this up is by securing one end of the cable, then moving over to the other side of the tree and attaching a short piece of rope to the cable using a Blake’s hitch. Slide the hitch out an arms length and set up a 3-1 mechanical advantage to pull on the cable. Tie off this rope to hold tension while splicing the cable, and release when you finish.
Here is a picture of the mechanical advantage setup. Running a rope straight through the carabiner instead of a second pulley seems to prevent over torquing the union.
Here are a few pictures of some systems I’ve installed recently. Note that the splice loop should be resting on a branch to keep it from slipping down the trunk.
Fraser Teeple is an ISA and Ontario Certified Arborist who provides professional product reviews for Cutter’s Choice.