One thing that decides the strength of your treehouse is the type of tree or group of trees you select. So how to choose a tree for treehouse more effectively? For that you must look at the factors which are a perfect indication of the fact that trees can handle the weight and design of the treehouse.
Important Factors To Consider For Choosing A Tree For Treehouse
So to answer your question, how do you choose a tree for a treehouse, we have compiled a list of these essential factors. Just examine the tree for these factors and you will understand if the tree is suitable for your treehouse or not.
1. Type of Tree
The first you have to do is narrow your search to the type of tree that is good for treehouse construction. The legendary treehouse architect Pete Nelson ( get his book ) says to stay away from the softwood if you plan to build a treehouse. They are the worst trees for tree houses. You can use a series of softwood trees for a unit but not a single tree. The hardwood tree is considered to best for building treehouse.
To be specific, go for the deciduous trees. Why? Well, they grow much slower compared to other trees and also have dense wood which is best for supporting a structure like a treehouse. Most of the deciduous trees have hardwood. If you have an option you must choose trees like oak, maple, hemlock, apple, and even beech is a very good option.
2. The Thickness of Branch Or Trunk
The branch and trunk have to take the weight of the treehouse and its occupants. Hence it has to be strong as well as thick enough to bear such load. To give you an idea about the size, for a treehouse of size 8 ft x 8ft, the diameter of the trunk has to be 12 inches or more. And if the tree has more than two stories, you would probably have to use the base as well as some overhanging attachment. For that, you must choose branches that are more than 8 inches. This is just to give you an idea, more the thickness sturdier is the base of your treehouse.
Another aspect that you have to consider while choosing the tree for the treehouse is the age. So even if the branch or trunk is thick, if it is a dying branch stay away from it. Also, if the branch is too young, do not use if for base or overhanging attachments. They are weak.
Being a treehouse enthusiast we feel, higher we go better is the view and the experience. But be practical when picking the tree for a treehouse. Having a living space for humans at height has their challenges. Higher you go, higher are the chances of something that could go wrong.
At extreme heights, the wind is the biggest challenge. You expect a little swaying in the treehouse but beyond a certain height, it is like being in a boat. To determine the safe height for building a treehouse, you must follow the simple rule of the lower third.
What we mean that you must construct the treehouse in the lower third portion of the tree where force experienced by the tree from the wind is very low. Even in the strong wind, this portion doesn’t move much. So in a situation like a storm or a tornado, at least you will be able to counter the swaying of the tree. The rest will depend on the structural integrity of the treehouse.
4. Number of Trees
You might want to expand your treehouse two or a couple of trees to have a large carpet area. But it gets tricky when you involve two or more trees. All trees have different movement and each tree puts different stress on the treehouse. If you don’t get it right, your treehouse might not stand for long.
Hence, many experts suggest keeping the treehouse up to one tree is the best option. However, if your treehouse design needs the support of the two more trees, ensure you choose a group of trees not so much exposed to strong winds. Also, try to use the flexible frame to ensure there is the least amount of stress on the treehouse when trees move.
5. Location of the Tree
You don’t just have to look at the tree but you also need to look at the location of the tree. Depending on the purpose of the treehouse, it has to be at the right location. If the treehouse is for the kids, you want a treehouse to be close to your house as well at a safe location from where kids have ready access.
And if the treehouse is for adults you want it to be at the secluded location where you can solve peace. In general, the treehouse should be away from roads, and hustle-bustle of the neighborhood. Also, it should be at the location where you have some good views.
One more thing to remember while considering the location of the treehouse, it should not violate someone’s privacy as treehouse usually have a good view of the surroundings. It is wise to take permission from the neighbors if you are planning to build a treehouse in a populated area.
6. The Health of the Tree
The last thing you can make sure while choosing a tree for tree house is to check the health of the tree. Even if the tree is alive and flourishing you have to look for signs like infestations, fungal diseases, rusts, etc. Even if you see small signs of these diseases disqualify the tree. Especially when the ailment is on the trunk or the main branches.
If the ailment is limited to small branches, you can definitely cut down those parts to stop the spread. We suggest you not to choose the tree even if there is a lot to cut down. Overall, tree must have a very good health condition. For treehouse growing tree is the best choice. Remember that!
7. Hire an Arborist
When you have narrowed down a few trees for the treehouse, we suggest you hire an arborist. You might now want to spend money hiring a professional but trust us if want to ensure that you have chosen the right tree for you and your kids, hiring arborist would save your lot of trouble in future.
An arborist is a professional who studies the structure and function of the tree. They are also called a tree surgeon. They not only help you choose the healthiest tree but also helps you prepare the tree for the treehouse construction. In the future, if the tree has some disease and it threatens the treehouse structure, they can even help you save the tree. Arborists are easily available. You can just google arborists near me and you will tons of them.
Choose a tree for building a treehouse is generally the first and the most important phase. We suggest you gain as much knowledge as possible and consult as many people as possible to make sure your decision is 100 percent right. Because once you begin construction, there is no going back.