Thursday 29 April 2010
Tree Support Systems, Props
Occasionally as a result of a storm or old age trees will loose their ability to remain upright.
The obvious option is to take the tree down and plant another one to replace the damaged one.
However when a tree fails or begins to fail in our yards people have come up with interesting ways or supporting them and allowing them to continue to survive and even thrive.
When people become attached to trees in their environments they will work tirelessly to preserve and lengthen the life span of “their” trees. This is a sentiment and passion that I share as an Arborist and person who appreciates all aspects of trees. If a tree falls in the forest, free from humans who rightly or wrongly have sentimental attachments and impose their mortal shortcomings on trees, it falls to the forest floor and is recycled.
In your yard this may not be the option you are looking at first.
Cables, braces and ground anchors are used frequently to stabilize trees that are falling over or are in danger of falling over. This article will focus on an other lesser used method, the tree prop or crutch. Just like the crutches used by people when they have broken limbs the tree prop is a sturdy typically wooden post used to support a broken limb or leaning tree. The ideal basic prop is composed of a sturdy rot resistant wood, such as oak, cedar, or locust. The top should have a
u shaped crotch that is capable of supporting the tree or limb that is failing. The prop, or props should be of sufficient diameter to support the tree or branch it is placed under.
Trees are living organisms with their vascular tissues living anf functioning just under their bark. Any prop system has the potential to damage the vascular system and this should be considered,
Attaching props by lashing them to the tree should be avoided, unless the lashings are replaced and re worked every year as the trees grow and expand. Crutches with v or u shaped branch rests should be inspected and adjusted frequently to prevent partial or complete restriction or girdling of branch tissue,
Tree lovers have come up with many ingenious systems to support and maintain our tilting trees.
It is important to make sure whatever system you have it is safe and will not fail suddenly endangering people or pets. Keep in mind that the props are usually dead wood and are decaying while the branches they are holding are alive and getting more massive with every season.
Regular inspection and pruning are a must if you are propping up aged trees. Certified Arborists are knowledgeable in i tree preservation and maintainance. Take the time to consult with your Certified Arborist before your tree is tilting or in danger of failing and your landscape will maintain it's value for years to come.