Violent Storm Tests Cable System

Back in May of 2007 a client from Schwenksville came to me with a dilemma: she has a big Norway maple near the street in front of her house that was very much alive, but in very fragile condition because of extensive decay from old injuries.  The best thing to do, I told her, would be to cut down the tree, because it was a hazard – if it broke, which it eventually would, it was likely to land in the street, pulling down high voltage wires and possibly hurting someone driving by.

She did not want to remove the tree because it provided a screen from the road, plus it would be an expensive job.  She wanted an alternative solution to reduce the risk.  A typical cable system would not be a long-term repair,  the tree was way too far gone for that.  But I offered a compromise plan of installing a non-static cable – a special very strong hollowbraid Dacron rope with big eye splices connecting it to the main trunk and the perilous leader over the street.  This would protect the weak branch to a degree but, more importantly, keep it from crashing into the street if it did break.

Well, yesterday it broke.  There was no way it could withstand the extremely violent winds from the thunderstorm that came through yesterday afternoon.  But the cable held, and the big heavy branch remained suspended above the street.  We had the mess cleaned up by 8:00 this morning, to the relief of the concerned client.


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