Selecting a Tree:-
First you will want to do a 'walk around' in your yard and take a look at the tree('s) or stand of trees available. The design of the treehouse structure will to a large extent depend on the size, shape and species of tree you have to work with. If you are fortunate and have several trees, or a grove from which to select from then strength, vigor, species- (good compartmentalisers), form, and arrangement are of primary concern.
Right away we'll want to educate ourselves about some of the aspects of a tree well suited for constructing treeforts, treehouses or other treestructures.
Species is important, and knowing your local varieties
strengths and limitations can be researched to ensure that you pick the
best candidate in your treeserve. Individual
trees are subject to analysis to ensure fitness for building treestructures
in them. Ask yourself, which are the oldest and largest species in my area.
Which ones have the tops blown out of them, or limbs twisted off. Also,
think about lightning if you live in an area where lightning strikes with
some regularity. Consulting an arborist is one way to go for analysing
a tree on your property. Local oldtimers in your area can be a good source
of info. regarding specifics of which species varietals are the most hardy,
strongest, long lived and resistant to storm damage. Or you
might want to talk to the Entreepreneur himself, Michael
Compartmentalization is another trait that a good treestructure tree should have in it's bag of tricks.
Standards: Modern day Treestructures.
In the "old days,"
one didn't have to be as particular about how, or where to build a treestructure.
Basically any tree or location one chose was ok. Not now, In this "New
Age," safety standards and neighbors' privacy have come into play. Building
Depts. And Planning commissions have been become more concerned about how
and where treestructures are built and the particulars of where they are
located. Also how the treestructure is going to be used. Although building
departments in some areas have not addressed the "treestructure" issue
with any adequate rules, many are now comming up to speed. If you'd like
some advice in regards to dealing with these sometimes difficult authorities,
talk to some of your local building contractors. They deal with the county
officials on a regular basis and know many of the ins and outs of dealing
with them, as well as basic construction codes in your area.
If someone living in your neighborhood decides to complain about your hastily started project, or your local Building Department personel or Assesor happen along you may find yourself suddenly in the middle of a , as was the case of Michael Garnier of Treesort, "Out 'n'About," in Takilma, Oregon.
In closing, be sure to talk to as many of your neighbors as possible before you start a treestructure project on your property. People living in your immediate visual contact zone may feel a sense of intrusion if they can see your treestructure from their windows or yard. Another thing about the intrusion issue is whether any of your treehouse windows face a neighbors backyard or windows. This can and does occasionally bring complaints to authorities and they may end up on your doorstep. Better to have some idea about how individuals in close proximity feel before you start your project
Ok, now we're cookin'. Lets get on down the list of 'to do's' of selecting the proper tree, or trees on your property.
There are several parts of a tree to consider. Since you cannot dissect a tree you are going to use, it must be scrutinized from the outside.
Look for diseased tissue where the trunk meets the ground, such as fungus / conk, or damaged bark. Compacted earth over tree root area. Too close to driveways or heavily used foot paths or filled ground inside of drip line can produce damage to roots. Have an arborist or other qualified treeperson analyse the roots if your tree is growing where these conditions exist.
Trunk: Foundation above ground.
Inspect now, for rotten
heartwood due to die back or wind damage of old limbs. Sometimes trees
are damaged by lightning, freezing or extended drought. Look for large
openings in the bark where the tree is trying to heal over some past damage
and see if the exposed wood is rotting or still solid, or if compartmentalisation
is working to allow healing.
Trees rotten in the core are oftentimes visibly hollow. If no hollow is apparent then one can take a length of 2x4 lumber and tap on the trunk. Listen for changes in tone that may signify hollows or changes in density of the trunk wood.
Branching: Another aspect of selecting a tree.
The natural branching
habits of trees vary. The strongest limb attachment is the 90 degree angle.
A 45 degree angle is ok, but limbs with less angle tend to have
included / invaginated bark which weakens the joint between forked limbs, or limb and trunk. Also included bark may allow high winds to tear the tree apart at the weak spot. See included photo in link above. There are ways of dealing with trees that are not at first site the best looking.
Here I might add, there is info. re: Artificial GL's on our Bracketree © page. You will see new technology @ work for placing your own limbs, (created by Michael Garnier), when needed, in a tree of your choosing. Also using brackets to strengthen as well as customizing anchorage points in a tree.
The GL's and other associated Bracketree© will enable a person to take advantage of precisely placing your treestructure in the best possible orientation in the tree, as well as being able to take advantage of what might otherwise be seen as a not so useful tree.
Some pictures of nice trees for Treestructures.
American plane tree / Sycamore - Planus occidentalis.
Tamarack / eastern
Larch - Larix laracina.
Trees with 45 degree limb angles: General info. only, not an endorsement for these species.
Oaks; (Black Oak - Quercus velutina) (Scarlet Oak - Q. coccinea)
Maples; (Red Maple
- Acer rubrum( (Silver Maple - A. saccharinum)
(Sugar Maple - A. saccharum)
Hicory - Carya cordiformis) (Pignut Hicory - C. glabra)
(Shagbark Hickory - C. ovata) (Pecan - C. illenoensis)
Walnuts; (Eastern Black
Walnut - Juglans nigra) (Butternut (walnut - J. cineria))