Over time trees have become integrated with golf course culture, often framing holes and adding different visual attributes to the golf landscape. Many of these trees have great significance, being classified as high value, not only for their appearance and age, but for their location with respect to turf health and sustainability.
However, with time, as many things do, trees begin to degrade. As more growth is added to horizontal growing limbs and branches, weight defects can begin to appear. Severe weather conditions will often cause damage that agged trees don’t have to ability to heal. Structure beings to break down as cavities are created where the tree is unable to compartmentalize the decay. When the decay moves into the larger trunk sections, parts of the structure may be compromised allowing failure to occur more easily during regular to moderate weather conditions.
In an attempt to prevent failure, steel tree cabling techniques have been used for some time. More recently, synthetic cables have been adopted for their less invasive installation techniques, ease of installation, and adjustability as the tree matures. These cables wrap around the branches, whereas a traditional steel cable have hardware drilled into the wood. The synthetic cables are also easily adjustable, which allows the system to grow with the tree. Either a dynamic or static setup can be achieved, with the former allowing motion in the canopy which becomes restricted in high wind situations, and the latter which restricts canopy movement in attempts to keep wounded tissues or poor unions from opening.
Recommendations were made from our consulting arborists for an installation of a cable in the Sugar Maple near the green on 18, as this tree is quite old would be considered a high value tree at the Club. A dynamic cable was installed in this tree to help prevent an injury during a storm. The cable was installed with a slight sag and also a shock absorber. Tension in the cable should be achieved in a strong wind if the opposing leaders separate far enough. At the same time, the shock absorber will help to dampen the impact on the cable.
We are hopeful that the installation of this cable will help to prolong the life of this iconic Sugar Maple at Cutten Fields.