question about cabling

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
Location
Evansville
So for those of you who do not know I am currently only a part timer when it comes to working with trees. The other day I showed up to my day job and saw this Ash tree near the entrance of our facility. I have not done any previous cabling, but have very basic knowledge from reading and I like to think I have common sense. So I believe I could take this on without necessarily a proper training, but feel free to let me know if I am in over my head or if this tree is in fact not a good option for cabling. From my understanding any cabling should be accompanied by trimming the tree to reduce the weight at the tips of the branch and cables should be located about 2/3 the height of the tree.

My questions are, is cabling species specific and if so is Ash an acceptable species? Where I live we are just starting to encounter EAB, is this tree worth the effort to try and save if we get it treated as well? Is the length of this split an issue? It is roughly 6 feet long and is technically a codom that grew together.

If there's anything I missed feel free to ask.

Thanks in advance,
Justin
 

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evo

Well-Known Member
Location
My Island, WA
I can't answer your ash specific questions.

I'd say go for it, it appears that there aren't any fixed targets, so the goal would be just keeping the tree whole. This tree would need steel cable and atleast two bolts or through rods installed in the crotch. Pick up the ISA best management booklet on cabling and bracing.
Give the home owner a break on the price, charge only for materials and use the tree as practice. There is a learning curve when it comes to this stuff, and it will take much longer than you expect.
FYI the specs are 2/3 FROM the defect to the top. Not 2/3rds the total height, even though in the case above it's basically the height.
How tall is the tree? DBH? And diameter of each stem?
 

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
Location
Evansville
Thanks for the info, it is much appreciated. In this case there is no homeowner, I work as the facility manager at a state hospital where this tree is located, so I will be providing the labor as part of my salaried job. Can't give much more of a break than that ;)

I was also curious about that 2/3 measurment, that is good to know.

The tree is probably 35 feet tall, dbh is 30" diameter of the stems is maybe 12" each (I hadn't measured that)

You mentioned steel cable, is the cable stops the preferred way to attach the cable? I know there are lag bolts but I believe I've seen mixed opinions on them.
 

fall_risk

Well-Known Member
Location
Philadelphia
Let me give you the tl:dr up front: this tree is not worth the effort you'd have to put into it, unless there is a compelling aesthetic or sentimental factor. You may want to consider doing it anyway, for the learning experience.

To hold that tree together, you would need to reduce it, cable it, and brace it. It sounds like you have a pretty good handle on reducing and cabling. You're correct, the standard calls for cabling to always be preceded by reduction, although that is, I've found, frequently ignored (reduction is difficult and time consuming...who wants to do that :) There are no specific mentions of species in the standard that I recall, but common sense dictates that it should be considered in your specification. For example, you would probably install a through bolt rather than a lag in a poor compartmentalizer. As an aside, I don't like lags, full stop. There are also structural considerations, like not cabling between the interior branches of two unions, but that is largely dictated by what's on offer in the tree. A small correction: the cable should be placed 2/3s the height of the union being supported, which is only 2/3s the height of the tree if you are supporting a union at ground level.

In a union that has already split, like this one, bracing is called for. Basically, one or more threaded rods are installed at and just below the split with a washer and two bolts at either end, to pull it back together. Even at ground level, this is very difficult and time consuming; you'll need a bit of the appropriate diameter that is long enough to go all the way through the tree. Those bits are expensive, and you'll need a drill with enough huevos to drive that bit all the way through. Your tree looks like it needs at least 4 or 5 brace rods, and that lowest union is pretty girthy. Bracing never goes smoothly, and it's very difficult to estimate.

If EAB is in your area, and the tree is not being treated, this is probably a waste. In the end, it boils down to 1)who is paying, and 2)what is that party's expectation. If it's a customer, I would lead with removal and replacement; that split is really bad...but if they really want to retain the tree, for whatever reason, they really have to treat for EAB, reduce, cable, and brace...and it's still not a sure thing; make sure your legalise reflects that reality and that the customer understands that this thing could still fall apart/be consumed by insects/be abducted by aliens, etc. Manage the hell out of their expectations, and get a John Hancock to that effect.

If you are doing this for yourself, the considerations are the same, except you can offset the cost with the experience you'll get out of it, and the new equipment you'll have afterwards. You sound like your head is on straight, so none the the individual steps should be beyond you, just remember that you need to do a lot of cabling to make it worth your money in the equipment investment. Make sure you get a copy of the best management practices for A300 part 3 - supplemental support systems. It is cheap, has good info, and will help you right-size the components you need.

Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk
 
Last edited:

fall_risk

Well-Known Member
Location
Philadelphia
Cable stops, amon eyes, or through bolts are all totally appropriate. In my mind, the only excuse for using a lag is when the girth of one or both of the stems being cabled is so great that it's not economical for the customer to drill all the way through, we're talking 24+inches here. I feel the use of lags should be disclosed to the customer. There is usually a creative solution for a longer cable to avoid the use of lags.

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colb

Well-Known Member
Location
Florida
Speaking of dynamic cabling, why is that not indicated in this circumstance?

My biggest issue with this project is the cabling maintenance. Is the customer really prepared to/going to maintain it on a tree in an open field? I feel like they'll forget about it. Is it really cost effective for this tree, with no apparent targets? You could probably install a tree 1/3 the size for the same price as the lifetime cost of installation and maintenance. This tree does not appear special. I don't think cabling is an option unless you're convinced that the owner is on top of things.
 

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
Location
Evansville
The tree is not anymore special than any other tree. In fact this is simply one of 24+ other Ash trees on our property as well as many oaks, Hackberry, maples and others on the 18 acres that we maintain.
As for the owner, that is technically the State of Indiana (believe me, the government has spent more money on bigger lost causes) but for all intents and purposes I am the owner until I choose to retire.
It is my job to upkeep the health and well being of both the buildings and grounds so I will remember that this tree has been cabled and will inspect it.

Now it still may be the best advice to remove it or wait until mother nature finishes the job herself and then plant another tree. That is part of the question that I originally asked and with the exception of the tools and experience gained, it is probably the most logical option.
 

colb

Well-Known Member
Location
Florida
The tree is not anymore special than any other tree. In fact this is simply one of 24+ other Ash trees on our property as well as many oaks, Hackberry, maples and others on the 18 acres that we maintain.
As for the owner, that is technically the State of Indiana (believe me, the government has spent more money on bigger lost causes) but for all intents and purposes I am the owner until I choose to retire.
It is my job to upkeep the health and well being of both the buildings and grounds so I will remember that this tree has been cabled and will inspect it.

Now it still may be the best advice to remove it or wait until mother nature finishes the job herself and then plant another tree. That is part of the question that I originally asked and with the exception of the tools and experience gained, it is probably the most logical option.

Gotcha, totally do that tree up, man. Great practice, tab is on the government, no problem if it fails. Perfect first go.

I still want to hear from the other guys about why metal cabling is preferred in this circumstance.

The milwaukee corded superhawgs are great for bracing. With the cordless ones coming out, the corded ones can be had at pawn shops for cheap, and they are more powerful. Don't get the hole hawg. Hopefully you've got a really big generator around? If you buy your bit etc. from Treestuff you'll avoid new guy pitfalls.
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Administrator
The ⅔ isn't hard and fast. It's a rule of thumb or guideline to be used as a goal. Inna perfect Y shaped tree with uniform trunk/s taper following the ⅔ idea allows you to use the smallest support system and not overload the components

Over my time of installing cables I looked at the tree and decided on the optimum location for support. Then I located other locations. In many situations the tree branches lower than the ⅔ goal That meant a compromise. At times I would install larger components. Others I might install more cables

Anyway

If the goal is to save the tree plan the crown reduction carefully. Look at the tip heavy arching branches. Oh...it's an ash...that's ALL of them hahaha!

I would install at least two through bolts in an X pattern....maybe more. Consult the ANSI standard for the recommended offsets

Take a look at the standing rigging on the HMS Victory or the USS Constitution or Captain Jack Aubrey's HMS surprise from Master and Commander. The standing rigging holds the masts up and doesn't move. The running rigging moves and moves the spare/sails. As the masts got smaller the rigging got smaller. No different for trees

You really can't sit back and wait for the tree to fail unless you can guaranty that no one will ever be under the tree. If the area is mowed you've invited access and assume the liability. Fencing could work. A novel way to withdraw the invite would be to stop mowing in a radius equal to the tree height. Even better...plant prickly ash and other thorny wood plants to dissuade lingering underneath. LOL
 

cerviarborist

Very stable member
Location
Florida, USA
These are super easy to use and save a ton of time. Just drill all the way through the tree and push the wire through the hole. The only way I cable unless its dynamic. A little pricey but well worth it in ease of use and time savings!
http://www.treestuff.com/store/catalog.asp?category_id=225&item=1475#detail
I use them as well. If you figure in the cost of eye bolts, washers and nuts in addition to a dead end grip, the cost for using wedge grips is about the same. The time and effort you save in the canopy though, is priceless!

Be sure to pick up the ANSI Standard for Support Systems, as well as the ISA BMP companion booklet. Read and understand everything in them BEFORE you start thinking about where and how you'll install things.
 

evo

Well-Known Member
Location
My Island, WA
Rope or dynamic cables allow for movement, which is good when there is not a defect that needs to be addressed, crack or included bark.
The tree in the photo has a crack, and certainly included bark. Basically any time you need or question the need if bracing in a tree a steel cabling system should/shall be used.


As far as hardware choices I never have considered lags. Only through bolts, or threaded rod with Amon eyes, or rig guy wire stops. I second Tom's statement with the 2/3rds rule. Trees are not engineered structures, and every one calls for something different. I've gone any where from half to 90%.

Last thought is that I don't always reduce the whole tree, there are times when I will subordinate half allowing the opposite to resume dominate growth. I do this only when I can get a feel for what side is separating, or if one part is clearly weaker or smaller
 

JD3000

Most well-known member
Location
Columbus
All good stuff from previous posts so I'll add a bit about the species.

As Tom mentioned, it's an ash so there will be plenty of codoms to reduce and/or use some removal cuts. Usually have many overexteded and arching branches.

Treating for EAB now and when needed is a recurring investment depending on what products you choose. Call your extension and get their thoughts on the movement od EAB into your are but DONT wait for plant symptoms to show up. Imidacloprid 2F can be gotten very inexpensively, around $0.50 an ounce. With a tree that big, I would recommend a strong rate of emmamectin on a 3 year injection cycle but it is super expensive. Consider how many ash on the site should be preserved based on cost and overall health and structural stability. That said, I wouldn't treat this tree but focus on those that are in better shape. If you're doing the work for the practice and experience however, that's all good in my book!
 

Serf Life

Well-Known Member
Location
Maine Island
Rope or dynamic cables allow for movement, which is good when there is not a defect that needs to be addressed, crack or included bark.
The tree in the photo has a crack, and certainly included bark. Basically any time you need or question the need if bracing in a tree a steel cabling system should/shall be used.


As far as hardware choices I never have considered lags. Only through bolts, or threaded rod with Amon eyes, or rig guy wire stops. I second Tom's statement with the 2/3rds rule. Trees are not engineered structures, and every one calls for something different. I've gone any where from half to 90%.

Last thought is that I don't always reduce the whole tree, there are times when I will subordinate half allowing the opposite to resume dominate growth. I do this only when I can get a feel for what side is separating, or if one part is clearly weaker or smaller
Thanks for this old post, you answered my questions before I needed to post em!
 

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
Location
Evansville
Thanks for this old post, you answered my questions before I needed to post em!
Thanks for bumping this old thread, I realized that I never gave an update on what happened with the tree.



So as an update, the higher ups that I answered to financially decided that this tree was of no risk. They did not approve the purchase for the supplies for cabling and bracing, and would not agree to removal to control when the tree came down. Moreover, as mentioned above there are 24 Ash trees on the maintained portion of the property, (countless more I'm sure in the woods) they chose not to approve a project to treat for EAB. I struggled to understand the rationale behind this as many of them making the decision are from Indianapolis and have seen the effects of EAB. I ended up purchasing a kit through treestuff as well as tree-age g4 and began a treating cycle to protect the trees that were the highest risk of hurting someone (next to playground equipment, along walking paths....)

I've since left employment there and moved to self employment, so I'm unsure if any treatment has continued since I left 2 years ago. I do know that the tree in my first post is still standing and has not had the split addressed. Anyways, I'm getting away from the above topic of cabling but wanted to give an update and thanks to everyone who gave opinions and advice above.
 

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
Location
Evansville
Have you been doing more cabling since working for yourself? If so what systems etc?
I find cabling to be a hard sell here. I often get asked about taking off large limbs because they are growing towards a home. I offer reduction and cabling instead, explaining the pros and cons, then never hear back from the customer. There's too many companies here willing to take off large limbs and even whole leads from a tree.

The best case senerio I've had is the homeowners opt for the trimming and not the cabling.

Taking my bids out of the equation (maybe I'm charging too much?) In the last 5 years I've only worked on two trees with cables already installed. Both were installed too low, and both had two cables with one on each tree had already failed years before. One tree was actually using come-a-longs and j-hooks as the cables.
 

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