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The Importance of Tree Cabling and Bracing Prior to the Winter

Cabling and Bracing Can Help Protect Your Trees against Winter Storm Damage

There is an inherent beauty to seeing freshly-fallen snow gently resting on tree branches as homeowners look out their windows or walk through their neighbourhood on calm and sunny winter days.  Even a thin layer of ice on those branches, glistening in the sun as it slowly melts, can inspire people to spontaneously snap a few photos to help preserve the moment in their memory.

However, despite these heart-warming scenes, the winter season is also well-known for producing harsh and outright nasty weather conditions with high winds, heavy snowfalls, sleet and/or freezing rain.  This is not only in stark contrast to the idyllic sights described above, but it can also be particularly threatening to people, pets, property – and trees.

And in the same manner that homeowners take precautions in preparation for the onset of the winter season, they should also ensure that their trees are well-protected against the potential damaging effects of winter storms.  Such precautionary winter tree care should begin with a pre-winter inspection to evaluate tree health or determine whether there are any signs/risks of possible structural damage in the event of a major storm or storms over the winter.  Indicators of impending problems would include:

  • Soft or fleshy patches of wood
  • Cracks in the trunk/at junctions
  • Broken, cracked, or sagging limbs
  • Partial uprooting/exposure of roots
  • Signs of disease or insect infestation
  • Uneven weight distribution (leaning/tilting)
  • Branches that are crossed or rubbing together

A pre-winter tree inspection can be performed by a qualified arborist from DreamWorks Tree Services.  Based on the severity or the extent of any identified risks, the arborist may determine that tree removal would be the optimal solution in order to provide the best margin of safety for the homeowner, their family, and their property.  However, in other cases, the tree could have sufficient strength/structural integrity to warrant actions that can help in preventing winter storm damage and in the preservation of tree health.

The most common ways to fortify and/or protect at-risk trees from possible winter storm damage include tree bracing and tree cabling.  The use of either process will be based on factors such as the site, type, and extent of any existing damage or possible risks.

Cabling is most often used in the upper crown or canopy of a tree.  High strength steel cables are secured to bolts inserted in the branches that are to be supported.  The cables redistribute any structural stress among these particular branches and also limit swaying or excessive movement during severe weather/high winds.

Bracing is more routinely used in the lower sections of a tree.  Steel rods are inserted above and/or below any existing cracks or splits in the trunk or at trunk-branch joints to offer added stability.  Tree bracing may often be applied in conjunction with tree cabling.

The importance of cabling and bracing prior to the winter should not be underestimated.  These types of tree care services, implemented by a qualified arborist from DreamWorks Tree Services, can preserve and protect tree health and stability while simultaneously reducing the risk of injury to family members and/or damage to their property.

For additional information on the cabling and bracing services provided by DreamWorks Tree Services, please go to

Cabling and Bracing are Just One Part of Our Overall Winter Tree Care Service

As intimated above, there are primarily three reasons to use tree cabling and/or bracing:

  • Damage Mitigation – to reduce the potential for personal injury and property damage
  • Damage Prevention – to safeguard trees against stress damage/injury due to storms
  • Structural Restoration – fortifying tree integrity by repairing existing problems/issues

But there are other types of protective tree care measures that Toronto homeowners can take prior to winter’s arrival, with the objective of preparing their trees for the following growing season.  Such actions may consist of:

  • Delicate pruning of dead, diseased, or decaying wood/limbs
  • Spreading mulch around the base (but not abutting the trunk)
  • Burlap wrapping/shielding young trees to guard against damage
  • Adding a fertilizer that promotes root growth but not leaf growth
  • Watering the roots (until ground freezes) to avoid winter drought

While these additional measures are certainly targeted toward promoting tree health and growth, they can have a detrimental effect if they are applied inadequately, incorrectly, or in an excessive manner.  Therefore, homeowners and property owners may choose to call upon the professional tree care services provided by DreamWorks Tree Services as a means of guaranteeing proper care and attention for their trees heading into the winter and into next spring as well.

Get your trees ready to withstand the coming winter storms.  Call the tree care experts from from DreamWorks Tree Services today at 647-924-2627 or contact us to book a consultation with a qualified arborist to determine whether tree cabling and/or bracing may be needed to protect your trees, and your family and your property too, from winter storm damage.

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