Tie down string and knot types

2-part question, Last year I tied down some branches with simple baler twine but I’m wondering if there is something better to use for this task. Does anyone use synthetic cordage like 550 paracord? Secondly, what is a good knot to use to make these tie downs? I admit I was not a boy scout and never learned the art of knot tying. I know plenty of fishing knots but I’m wondering what is the best is for tree training. I’ve seen some pretty clever knots that allow slide adjustment but never used them. Any advice or reference?

I tie with a twine from a hobby store that looks old timey. It is brown so blends in. Is also biodegradable so can be thrown on the ground when releasing the branch. This is for tying smaller branches, not near as strong as bailing twine. The knot doesn’t matter mush as long as you have a loop rather than tight all the way around the limb. This time of year small branches retrain in a few weeks.

I have tied larger branches with para cord. those don’t retrain very easy and the paracord will create a notch, but it fills in pretty fast when you move your tie point.

But in conclusion. you probable did everything about right last year

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I don’t tie a knot around the limb. Rather tie a loop in your string short of the limb. Then wrap the loose end over the limb and tie back to the loop.


Look up a video on YouTube. It’s for the apple tall spindle. They’re are a few of them so I’m sorry i don’t know exactly which one, but in one of the series the presenter goes over tying down the branches, what kind of knot to use, and different kinds of material.

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I like to make a biggish loop around the branch to be bent. It’s big enough that I can move it fairly easily to be best point on the branch; sometimes I shift it after a few weeks. If you use that green tape they sell in most big box stores and garden centers it’s easy to make a knot that won’t slip with a simple square knot pulled very tight. Then I take whatever twine I happen to have to connect it all up. Easier to do than to describe.

If you want an elegantly adjustable line look up the sheep shank and/or the taut-line hitch. And you can consider a simple gadget used to adjust guy lines on tents that makes it all too simple.


But the knots are much, much craftier!

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Good stuff fellas. Sean I had seen that spindle video last year and had forgotten all about it. He makes it seem pretty simple and easy. You guys have given me a lot of good ideas. Thanks.

When I tie limbs, I make 2-3 loose loops of marker tape and tie the string to that. The width of the tape keeps it from damaging the tree and it will last 12-18 months.


Great idea!

Same what chikn said but I use 1/2" velcro used to secure vines and other things. Secure it (to itself) loosley around the branch and tie twine to that.

Thanks for the idea on the tape loops. At the other end I drive star-drive deck screws into the base of the trunk to anchor the cords. I got this idea from a video about solaxe.


You might be referring to Terence Robinson. His videos are good. He is with Cornell U.

If one can visualize the loop method I described above it’s adjustable, easy, and has never damaged a branch for me. I’ve used it in my greenhouse for 10+ yrs to both tie up and tie down branches. I’ll try to describe again in more detail. I know a picture would help but my camera died.

For tying a limb down: Tie one end of string off to an anchor in the direction you want to pull the branch. Find the spot on the branch where the string needs to be attached. With one hand pull the branch down and with the other hold the string near the attachment point on the branch. This allows one to judge where a loop needs to be tied about 6-12 inches short of the branch. Tie a short loop in the string at that point. Now loop the free end of the string over the branch and tie it back to the loop at the point that leaves the branch in the desired position. The branch isn’t going to be girdled because the loop over the branch is open on one side. By tying a slip knot between loose end and the loop, the position can be adjusted. I’m not good at describing that slip knot but it’s easy as pie.

Bingo!! Excellent videos!!

The video mentions driving a screw into the tree for something to tie on to. Does anyone do this? I was going to tie some branches down tonight and struggled to find a good tie down spot. Though the thought of sinking a bunch of screws into the tree doesn’t excite me.

I agree. I’d find another way to secure it.

Thanks Anne. Last year I tied tried several things like tying them to a brick placed on the ground and tying them to stakes driven in the ground. I’d like to figure out a way to tie them to the tree itself rather than something driven in the ground. It makes it harder and more tedious to mow and trim below each tree when limbs are tied to the ground.

The deck screws driven into the trunk just above the ground work for me. No sign of any issues with the tree.


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Are you using the gold coated deck screws?

Last year I found a branch broken. It would have taken a lot force to break the branch. I think a deer got caught on the line while trying to graze on the tree. It’s something I never thought about before. It might be good to have breakaway scheme for such cases.

Speedster, I use just the basic, coated/painted screws in whatever color are available that day. They seem to be inert enough to not cause any harm to the tree. With a star drive they are easily inserted and provide a good anchor for the lines.

Thanks to the other posters for providing instructions on tying a real trucker’s hitch. For years I have been tying it incorrectly with a slip knot.