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Author Topic: Tree Girdled by Support Cable - How Safe??  (Read 3453 times)

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Offline tim1234

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Tree Girdled by Support Cable - How Safe??
« on: June 04, 2011, 05:04:24 PM »
I have a friend who asked me if I could come over and climb his tree and cut of some dead limbs about 50 ft up.  But when I went to look at this 36" diameter maple, I noticed that they had a cable put in above the main crotch (about 40' up the trunk).  The cable clearly girdled both the main limbs above the crotch.  I asked how long ago the cable had been installed and they think about 20 years ago. 

So to my question, how strong can a girdled limb be after growing around a cable?  The limbs are larger than 1' in diameter and are pretty verticle.  Just curios as I don't want to climb a compromized tree!!

I know how trees grow around fences and such, but how much does this type of growth affect the strength of the tree?  Do the grow back together like bones??

Thanks for any feedback.

Tim
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Husky 372XP, 455 Rancher, Echo CS300, Alaskan 30" Chainsaw Mill

Offline Kevin

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Re: Tree Girdled by Support Cable - How Safe??
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2011, 06:51:55 PM »
It should be fine, probably stronger than the wood itself where the cable is.
The main concern for me would be how long the limbs or leaders were dead or if they still have any life in them.
What kind of maple?
Do you want to climb on and above the dead stuff?

Offline tim1234

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Re: Tree Girdled by Support Cable - How Safe??
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2011, 12:05:50 AM »
Kevin,

It should be fine, probably stronger than the wood itself where the cable is.

I'm not sure what you mean by this.  Are you saying the wood that grows around the cable is stronger than the normal wood?  This is a cable put in to keep the 2 main limbs from spitting the trunk in a storm.  But it did not have any provisions to allow for the growth of the tree like the newer systems do.

What kind of maple?

I'm not sure what type of Maple it is, it has a rough bark with small sharp lobed leaves ( I really need to buy that tree ID flippy thing that has the leaves sticking out the top ;D).  Maybe silver maple.

Do you want to climb on and above the dead stuff?

The dead limbs are small, maybe 4" to 6" in diameter at main limb.  The main limb at the dead stuff is 10" to 12" in dia.  The main limbs are the ones that are girdled, but look completely healthy.  So I am not climbing on any dead limbs.  There is probably 75' of healthy tree above the "Y" where the cable is.  My concern is that my life line would be well above the "Y".  I can get a good healty limb for my climbing line with my big shot well above the dead stuff.

Just trying to be safe when I don't have anything to judge how strong a limb (or trunk) is when it grows around something wrapped tightly around it.

Tim
You buy a cheap tool twice...and then you're still stuck with a cheap tool!!
Husky 372XP, 455 Rancher, Echo CS300, Alaskan 30" Chainsaw Mill

Offline Walesy

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Re: Tree Girdled by Support Cable - How Safe??
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2011, 09:00:44 AM »
Just my 2cents worth - Now this is in regards to spruce trees where a guy wire has been placed at about a 15/20 height on the trunk. The cable had been forgotten about over the years and had become covered in bark were it contacted the trunk. In two such cases I have seen the tree snap off above the area were the cable girdled the tree. I realise we are talking about different trees and the load factors from a guy wire would no doubt be much different from the set up you describe. Hope this helps. Take care
Walesy

Offline bill m

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Re: Tree Girdled by Support Cable - How Safe??
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2011, 09:06:46 AM »
Sounds like Silver Maple. I like doing removals of silver maples with my bucket truck because of all the leaves they act like big sails and I could rig down some big limbs. I always used multipoint rigging and redirects if possible to spread the lowering stress to multiple leaders. Are you saying there is 75 feet of tree above the cable or the crotch it is reinforcing? Can you drop the remainder of the tree when you get it down to the cables without cutting them? A friend was doing a removal on a sugar maple that was cabled. When he got it down to the cables he cut it. Lucky for him he picked the right leader to be tied into, the other leader crashed to the ground. Be safe.
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Offline tim1234

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Re: Tree Girdled by Support Cable - How Safe??
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2011, 09:15:54 AM »
@ Bill M,

We are not removing the tree only removing some dead limbs and for the most part the small stuff has fallen off so there is only the larger portion of the limbs left.  He wants them remoed more for aestetics.  Otherwise the tree looks very healthy.  You bring up a good point though...Why was the cable put in in the first place.  The tree looks strong, but was there a crack that needed to be supported or was it just for peace of mind ???  I'll have to talk to my friend and see if he remembers why the cable was added.

I would hate to be tied in and have the cable break and the tree to split. 

We had a tree guy years ago (30 or so years back) that was in a tree with a flip line and the tree split.  It broke his back and was paralized.  Nothing is totaly safe, but then again you need to have some fun ;)

Tim
You buy a cheap tool twice...and then you're still stuck with a cheap tool!!
Husky 372XP, 455 Rancher, Echo CS300, Alaskan 30" Chainsaw Mill

Offline Kevin

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Re: Tree Girdled by Support Cable - How Safe??
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2011, 04:47:31 PM »
Silver maples are terrible to climb, the branches break easily.
Get your rope close to the main leader on a large branch or better yet around the leader itself.
You can splint the girdled section if you want, 2x4's and cinch straps.
You can also add down guys as well.


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