The installation of cables, bolts and other hardware - in combination with proper pruning and other appropriate management practices - can extend the life of structurally weakened trees. These systems are not, however, no-maintenance!
In fact, if many years pass between inspections, cabling and bracing systems can actually increase a tree’s chance of failure - as can improperly installed cables such as those in the picture above (two cables should never be attached to the same anchor).
Selective pruning, for example, may be required every few years to redistribute the weight of a tree's canopy as it grows larger. Also, sites where bolts are inserted into/through trunks must be inspected for the development of decay, at left.
When properly installed and maintained, cabling and bracing systems can withstand tens of thousands of pounds of stress during a severe storm. If, however, they are not well-maintained, they can fail in an instant!
By the way, for what I hope are obvious reasons (at right), wire should never be wrapped around branches as an inexpensive alternative to a properly installed and maintained cabling and bracing system.