Prevention of Wind Damage in Trees
In North Texas we have turbulent weather in late Spring and early Fall. Aside from tornados and hurricanes, much of the tree damage from high winds can be prevented by two methods - bracing and cabling. These methods have been used for many years to provide "insurance" that the trees will not fall apart.
Bracing - Trees with narrow branch angles or multiple trunks that have grown together have resulting weak structures that can fail in excessive wind. This weakness can be mitigated by bracing - inserting a large threaded rod (or bolt) through the weak branches of trunks and bolting it together. Usually a comprehensive bracing setup involves using two or more rods to maximize strength. Often these can be installed for as little as $100 which is far more economical that the loss of all or part of a tree.
An additional form of bracing involves trees that have a severe lean. In order to support the tree, it is first pruned to reduce weight stress on the lean side of the tree. Next, high strength supports are used as a "crutch" to support a portion of the weight of the tree and thus reduce stress on the roots. These supports can be made of a variety of materials (wood beams, metal pipe, concrete posts, etc.) depending on the weight being supported.
Cabling - Tree branches and trunks can be held together with high-strength hardware connected to steel cable. This technique uses opposing branches to help the tree hold itself together since there is no additional support from the ground. Often, trees benefit from multiple cables installed to provide support. Candidates for cabling include large limbs that reach way out over houses and other structures. Rather than removing these significant limbs they can be retained indefinitely with a cable system.
Note: Cables should never be wrapped around the outside of a limb or trunk to hold it together. This will result in long-term damage to the tree's vascular system and will create serious tree health issues.
So before storms damage your trees, ask an ISA certified arborist to assess the risk of wind damage to your trees and discuss appropriate preventative measures for your trees. Heritage Tree Service of Texas has an arborist on staff to provide this kind of assessment.