Building a treehouse can be a rewarding experience that supplies you and your family with years of enjoyment. Before you begin, there are several things you will want to consider in order to protect the health of your tree or trees. Tree houses can cause stress to the trees that support them, and care should be taken to ensure your trees can continue living a long and healthy life. Here are some things that you should think about as you plan your project:
- Weight Distribution – Any extra weight added to a tree will cause stress. Minimize this by centering the load above the base of the tree. Also, consider adding extra supports to take some of the load off your tree. You may even be able to use more than one tree for your fort, depending on how close together they are. Any load-bearing limb should be a minimum of 8 inches in diameter for hardwood trees; larger for softwoods. Remember, you want your structure to be secure; not only to protect your trees but also to keep the people inside safe.
- Leaving Room for Movement and Growth – Building a house in a tree differs from building one on the ground, because the “foundation” is dynamic – it grows and moves in often unpredictable ways. You must allow for this to happen in order to avoid damage to the tree and your structure. Leave gaps wherever a limb or trunk passes through the floor, wall, or ceiling of your treehouse. A perfectly-sized opening won’t be perfect in a few years when the tree has grown, and a strong wind causing the branch to move could shake your treehouse to pieces. Do not simply pin beams to the tree; use extra-long lag bolts with plenty left sticking out to allow for growth. Fasteners should be flexible, such as floating brackets that allow for movement as the tree sways in the wind.
- Keep Punctures to a Minimum – It is inevitable that you must somehow attach your structure to the tree, and this means drilling into the bark. These are injuries that your tree must recover from, and they could possibly act as an inroad for infection. The tree will heal, as long as you do not cause excessive harm. Space the punctures both horizontally and vertically so that no one area becomes totally compromised. Never use wire, rope, or cables to secure your structure. These can strangle a tree and cause lacerations as they move across the bark.
Whatcom County Tree Service understands that you love your trees, and we want to see you getting years and years of enjoyment out of them. Don’t forget there would be no treehouse without a tree. Our professional tree care experts can help you decide how best to go about your building project. Use our tree trimming service to get branches out of the way and make sure you are only building on stable, healthy limbs. Call 360-252-9771 today, and let us help you care for your trees and prepare for your project.