The Arborist's Ultimate Gear Guide: Cobra Bracing

At Landmark Trading we stock the Cobra Bracing system, which does away with any tree damage caused by steel bolts and cables. With only a pair of scissors and a cigarette lighter, the Cobra System can be easily assembled to provide support for a huge variety of unstable trees. We believe it’s the best bracing system out there and in this article, I’m going to take you through some of the reasons why.

Before that though, I want to give a quick rundown for those, not in the know, what tree bracing is and why it’s an invaluable part of any arborist's equipment.

What is Tree Bracing?

From time to time, trees can grow in such a fashion that they become physically unstable to hold their own weight. This is common in multi-trunked trees and trees with open canopies. Tree bracing is a technique used by arborists, employing cables, to stabilise these trees and make them safe

 

 

There are three reasons to employ bracing to a tree. These are as follows:

  • Prevention: Reducing chance of failure in healthy but weakly structured trees
  • Restoration: Extending the life of a damaged tree
  • Mitigation: Reducing potential hazard to property or human life from a healthy tree

Along with pruning to reduce weight the decision to use bracing systems has to be measured against the potential value of preserving or maintaining the tree’s life, as well as the fact that no bracing system can guarantee against failure. Aesthetics, safety and conservation are all factors that all come into this equation and something an arborist can advise you on.

 

What makes the Cobra Bracing System so Good?

The Cobra Bracing System is the result of practical scientific insights resulting from years of research results and control studies. The finished product is a tree support system that has been specifically designed for flexibility and shock absorbance.

Like all bracings systems, the Cobra Bracing System loses strength over time but control studies have put this at 2% per year, well within acceptable limits for bracing systems. Based on this figure it is recommended that the Cobra Bracing System be replaced every 12 years.

Unlike traditional bracing systems that rely on steel cables and support bracing rods that are inserted into the tree itself, the Cobra system is completely non-invasive and instead uses monofilament polypropylene hollow cables and a quick splice method to support splitting limbs or trunks.

Let’s have a look at the individual components of the Cobra Bracing System.

Components

Cable: The cable is woven from monofilament polypropylene hollow cables which are incredibly strong but comfortable to handle due to soft mesh braiding.

Expansion inserts: These are put into the hollow cable and flatten the contact area. This can prevent girdling.

Anti-abrasion hose: This allows the cable to slide around the connection point, preventing rope damage.

Colour coded end caps: Allow for quick identification of installation year.

Shock Absorbers: One or more shock absorbers can be installed to significantly dampen the damage caused by impact forces

Cobra Bracing Variants (1)

The Cobra Bracing system comes in four variants, designed for different loads and branch diameters.

Cobra Plus 2 Ton

  • Uses a 14mm polypropylene rope with a tensile strength of 3.45 metric tons with a ductile yield of 7.5% per metric ton. Useful lifespan is 15 years.
  • Dynamic braking/cabling system for branches up to 40cm at base diameter.
  • Load bracing system for branches up to 30cm at base diameter.

Cobra Plus 4 Tonnes

  • Uses a 22mm polypropylene rope with a tensile strength of 6.1 metric tons with a ductile yield of 4.2% per metric ton. Useful lifespan is 15 years.
  • Dynamic braking/cabling system for branches 40cm to 60cm at base diameter.
  • Load bracing system for branches 30cm to 40cm at base diameter.
  • Static braking/cabling system for branches up to 40cm at base diameter.

Cobra Plus 8 Tonnes

  • Uses a 28mm polypropylene rope with a tensile strength of 11.35 metric tons with a ductile yield of 2% per metric ton. Useful lifespan is 8 years.
  • Dynamic braking/cabling system for branches 60cm to 80cm at base diameter.
  • Load bracing system for branches 40cm to 60cm at base diameter.
  • Static braking/cabling system for branches 40cm to 60cm at base diameter.

Cobra Ultrastatic

  • Uses 10mm Dyneema hollow cable with a tensile strength of 9 tons and a ductile yield of 0.2% per metric ton. Also, features a special braid for quick splicing.
  • Load bracing system for branches up to 40cm in diameter.
  • A static braking-bracing system for branches 30cm to 40cm in diameter.

Benefits and Advantages of the Cobra Bracing System

The benefits or the Cobra Bracing System are numerous and include:

Lightweight: The components of the Cobra Bracing System are far lighter than steel cable and bracing rods. The Dyneema 10mm hollow cable is 8 times lighter than steel.

Non-Obtrusive: Because the Cobra System does not use bracing rods, there is no damage to the tree itself.

Multiple uses: The Cobra System can be used as both a dynamic bracing system to reduce sudden stresses from thunderstorms and high winds, whilst also being used as a load bracing system

Shock Absorbing: The shock absorbing technology used in the Cobra Bracing System can drastically reduce impact forces which can break steel wires.

For more information on the Cobra Bracing System check out the tutorial video below.

If you want to know more about Cobra Bracing then feel free to give Landmark Trading a call on 01780 482231 and one of our experts will be happy to go through any questions you have.