Recently, we encountered a project involving a sprawling, mature Pohutukawa with several large limbs gradually drooping toward the ground, thus occupying valuable space in the backyard of this urban property. The entire garden design revolved around this remarkable tree.
The tree is believed to predate European settlement which added to its significance within the garden design, and so it was decided that supporting the limbs would be more appropriate than pruning them.
While there was limited literature available on propping tree limbs, I consulted various design resources and studied relevant images to formulate a plan, or my interpretation of what I found. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, this method is grounded in sound mechanical principles and draws inspiration from the Japanese, who excel in such practices. The concept is relatively simple: a short crossbeam is fastened to the supported limb using rope and rests in a groove carved into the top of the main post.
This allows the limb to move laterally during strong winds. To safeguard the limb, it is wrapped in protective bark before securing it with the rope. The post is embedded in the ground at a moderate depth, and the pressure exerted by the branch secured in the notch helps keep it in place. Fortunately, I had access to Cryptomeria japonica (Japanese cedar) logs for this purpose; otherwise, square macrocarpa posts would have sufficed.