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I need to bring two branches of a palm tree/bush together. So I need a knot that is secure under tension but can also be progressively tightened. What knot would you recommend?

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  • There are various straps and tapes that are used for this that the gardeners will know better than us – Separatrix Mar 12 at 8:11
  • What size branches? How long do they need to be held together? Does the connection need to support any other load? Do you need the branches (or the tree) to survive this treatment? – Toby Speight Mar 12 at 12:55
  • Guran - Thanks for this suggestion. I'm going to try to do this with a rope and plastic tubing. So any knot suggestion(s) would still be appreciated. – Ray Klein Mar 12 at 22:10
  • Toby - the branches (really more like 2 trunks of a single plant) are about 4" in diameter. It was wind and rain that caused the separation. The angle is now about 40 deg and should be about 20 (more vertical). – Ray Klein Mar 12 at 22:13
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    @Ray, I advise you edit the question to include the additional information (comments can be removed, without warning). P.S. Welcome to TGO.se! – Toby Speight Mar 13 at 9:21
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I wouldn’t

While I could think of a number of ways to tie a string the way you want, a cam buckle strap would be super simple and (more importantly) damage the bark considerably less. Even without a cam buckle, I would still advise tape before string. Professionals use strips of loose fabric to spread the load across the bark as much as possible.

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I agree with the prior answer that a rope should not be your permanent solution here, given that it will ultimately damage the tree. However, I think you can mitigate this for short-term use of rope, until the tree has stabilized itself and no longer needs human help, in one of two ways, possibly both:

  1. Chafing gear. Use scraps of other material as a pad between the rope and tree. A tarp or other strong fabrics might work, but I think the best thing here is to run the rope though sections of old garden hose before tying your knots.
  2. Frequent re-adjusting. Every couple weeks, remove your rig and re-do it in a slightly different place, allowing any friction damage that has occurred to heal. (It sounds like you already plan to do this.)

Given that, I think the rig you want is some form of trucker's hitch, which is not really a single knot but a combination of multiple knots. Working together, the different knots form a virtual ratchet strap that holds itself under tension.

For a couple how-to's, here's some links: https://www.animatedknots.com/truckers/index.php and https://www.wikihow.com/Tie-a-Trucker%27s-Hitch. Normally Animated Knots is quite good, but in this case I think they didn't do well in showing the distinct parts. Wikihow's drawings can be hard to interpret, but give a decent idea of what is going on.

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This assumes the two branches can be brought close together and parallel.

Consider using a Constrictor Knot. It's a very simple variation on the clove hitch and is very tight.

In the image, the large rope represents the two branches.

enter image description here

See also constrictor-knot

  • I would not use a constrictor knot on a living tree, as the knot tightens very much and will damage the tree. – Willeke 2 days ago

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