TIP: If you're a tree, it's NOT hip to be square!

Posted by Keren Warner on

A search of the Internet will uncover lots of pictures of square watermelons and tomatoes and cucumbers and other assorted fruit and veggies. And the forms that we use to create these interesting specimens are not so dissimilar from what can happen if we allow our trees to grow unchecked within the confines of a surrounding platform or deck. But, let us be clear on this point...this is NOT healthy for a tree.

We advise always checking with a certified arborist who is an expert in the field of building structures in trees (i.e. tree house and adventure course construction), but below we offer a few general tips from a certified arborist that will help prevent your trees from looking like this:

  • Where decking is run up to the tree, or framing is attached to the tree, one must be extremely careful not to girdle or effect a large amount of the circumference of the trunk.
    • Decking should be regularly cut back from the trunk to avoid constricting the tree growth.
  • Avoid the exclusive use of screws to affix supports as this introduces too many holes in the surface of the tree leaving it vulnerable to rot and disease.
  • Don't tie slings, ropes or cable around the tree trunk or branches. This gradually damages a large area of bark as the tree moves and grows, and if tied around a whole branch will gradually strangle the branch. 
  • Instead, framing is best perched on specialized bolts designed for that purpose.  
  • When using regular bolts it's best to use stainless steel rods rather than galvanized metal.
  • Where possible seek out attachment methods that minimize or avoid puncturing, scarring, or otherwise compromising the integrity of the tree.
  • Avoid cutting the tree trunk or branches without consulting experts. Cutting exposes a lot of living tissue and leaves the tree prone to diseases, rot, and the possibility of eventual death.    

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