Tree-safe Tree Houses

first_imgBuild it for easy, safe access, not to maximize height. Always build in the bottomone-third of the tree. And position it so it rests or is attached to the basal one-third ofeach branch. Carefully consider how children will enter the tree house. Don’t nail ladder rungs intothe trunk. Use a self-supporting ladder tied to the tree or a heavy, unlooped, knottedrope. For many trees with low branches, children don’t need a ladder or rope for entry. There’s an attraction between trees and children. The only major concern is the child’s safety. But there are some minor tree issues tothink about. Don’t install or allow wires, electrical lines, heat sources, fires or metal poles in oraround a tree house. Any tree-selection process for building a tree house should havealready eliminated trees near utility lines, antennas, chimneys and overhanging roofs. Trees bend and twist in the wind. So simply jamming or wedging boards betweenbranches or into crotches will lead to failure. Use rope to make sure a tree house stayssnug against a branch. When you see your 10-year-old headed toward your yard tree with a hammer, nails andscrap lumber, immediate decisions need to be made. Attaching it to branches with rope can keep windstorms from blowing it away. It cankeep ambitious and ingenious children from changing design concepts and injuringthemselves, too. A tree house structure will weaken over time. Check it monthly, remove it in the coldseason, and examine it after every storm. Next, determine how high to build it. For most play, any height represents the thrill ofa tree house. Well-connected, large tree branches should support the weight of a tree house. Userope attachments to keep it in position on branches but not to bear its full weight. Tieup all loose ends of rope, or melt them into knots.center_img A tree’s constant motion, even in still air, and its great size and reach make itfascinating. At some time in your life you’ve imagined, or maybe even built, a treehouse. Remember, tree houses should be temporary, seasonal structures that are removed eachyear. This allows a tree time to adjust and a parent time to check and repair the treehouse. Use new, synthetic, heavy rope to reattach it each year. Leave thin, open gaps along the bottom and top of the tree house to allow for good aircirculation and plenty of light, and to let breezes blow tree litter away. Tree houses are inherently dangerous and require careful maintenance. But they can befun, educational and challenging, too. Slightly tilt the floor to shed water. Allow any water falling on the tree house to run offaway from the tree trunk. Don’t allow water and leaf litter to accumulate. Use wood to build it. Wood is “soft” on the tree and children, is strong for its weightand withstands bending and mechanical shocks well. Attach the main floor pieces orbraces to branches with heavy rope in multiple wraps. They may be for kids, but tree houses require adult construction and supervision forsafe play and for minimizing damage to the tree. Remember to defend the life of a tree that will stand long after any tree house is goneand the children have departed. Piece together your tree house carefully to reducemajor, long-term tree injuries. Tree houses should be designed to rest on major branches and nestle around the treetrunk. Never wound the tree with nails, screws and saw notches.last_img

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