Cabling, Bracing, and Topping Trees

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Cabling, bracing, and topping are three tree maintenance techniques that are often used to address specific issues with trees.


Cabling is the process of installing steel cables between major limbs of a tree to provide support and reduce the risk of branch failure. It is typically done when a tree has multiple trunks or branches that are growing at a steep angle and are at risk of splitting or breaking off. Next article

Cabling involves attaching high-strength steel cables to bolts that are installed in the tree trunk or major branches. The cables are tensioned to provide support and hold the branches in place. This technique is especially useful for trees that are large, old, or have structural issues.


Bracing is similar to cabling, but instead of using cables, it involves installing rigid rods to provide support for weak or damaged branches. Bracing is typically done when a tree has a major branch that is cracked or split and needs additional support to prevent further damage.

Bracing involves drilling a hole through the affected branch and inserting a steel rod that is anchored to the tree trunk or another nearby branch. The rod is tightened to provide support and prevent the branch from moving or breaking.


Topping is a tree maintenance technique that involves cutting back the top branches of a tree to reduce its height. It is typically done for practical reasons, such as to prevent the tree from interfering with power lines or to control the tree’s size.

Topping involves cutting off the top of the tree, usually at a predetermined height above the main trunk. This technique is controversial, however, because it can cause serious damage to the tree, including promoting the growth of weak branches and making the tree more susceptible to disease and pests.

In general, cabling and bracing are techniques used to provide support for trees that are at risk of structural failure, while topping is a technique used to reduce a tree’s size or prevent it from interfering with structures or power lines. It is important to consult with a professional arborist or tree care company before using any of these techniques to ensure that they are done properly and do not cause additional damage to the tree.