Q:

How do I fix a broken tree branch?

A:

Repair a tree branch that splits at the fork by pulling the fork back together, drilling a hole through the two branches and inserting a large bolt to hold the branches together while the damage heals. Reinforce the repair with a steel cable between the branches.

  1. Pull the branches back together

    Evaluate the split to see if a repair is feasible without endangering personal safety. Begin the repair as soon as possible after the damage. Drill holes and insert lag screws into both branches 5 to 6 feet above the break. Attach a small block and tackle to the bolts, and pull the branches together, guiding them so they match as closely as possible.

  2. Insert a large bolt

    Drill a hole through the branches, and insert a steel rod or large bolt into it to hold the branches in place while the wound heals. If the split is large, it sometimes requires two or more bolts to hold the branches together.

  3. Attach a cable

    Add more lag screws several feet above the break, and attach a cable to reinforce the repair while it heals. Do not wrap the cable around the branches to prevent girdling of the tree. The cable system helps to hold the split together when the tree weathers future storms.

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