The right treehouse tree

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Before you start planning and building your treehouse, you need a suitable tree.

For large treehouses, the tree must be able to carry several tonnes of load and withstand extreme weather situations. The house must be anchored securely and gently to the tree without overloading it. Most trees with a trunk diameter > 30 cm are suitable for this – with a few exceptions.

Here you can learn, which tree species are best and worst suited for building a treehouse and which alarm signs you should look out for:

1. Table – The best treehouse trees?

One thing in advance: When building a tree house, there is no such thing as the “most suitable tree”.

Every tree is unique!

Wood quality varies greatly, not only from species to species, but especially from site to site, from tree to tree, but also within one and the same tree. Above all, climate, soil quality, age & exposure have an influence. It can therefore happen that a screw fastening in a beech holds 4 tons in one place, but only 3 tons in a neighbouring place.

Nevertheless, there are of course tree species that are better suited for tree house construction than others.

The following characteristics are good:

  • high wood strength
  • good wound sealing
  • fast growth of reaction wood
  • high average life span
  • large expected trunk diameter
  • robust bark

In a bachelor’s thesis, we have gone through numerous studies and compiled a list from them, which shows us which trees are particularly suitable for treehouse construction:

Right tree for a treehouse table

Ideal trees are deciduous trees such as beech, oak, lime, maple, ash, elm, sycamore, chestnut and many nut trees, as are conifers such as larch, pine, Douglas fir and fir. If the trunk diameter is >30 cm (1 ft), you can use these trees for building a treehouse.

Less suitable (as sole support trees) are: Birch, elm, alder, cedar, spruce, horse chestnut and fruit trees. Here you should only build in mature and very healthy trees. Try to work with few fixings (few wounds from Tree Screws & bolts). In the case of large and heavy houses, it makes sense to relieve the tree and place the treehouse partly on stilts.

Not suitable are very soft tree species such as poplar or willow; here it is better to build the treehouse completely on stilts.

2. How big and how high should my tree be?

Example tree house in forest

Big trees with thick trunks are better than small ones!

  • They move less in the wind
  • You can put more Tree Screws
  • The tree is more resistant to parasites and weather extremes
  • You can reach higher!

The decisive factor for building a treehouse is not the height of the tree, but the diameter of the trunk!

3. How thick must the trunk be at least?

Treehouse builders hug tree like thick

The trunk diameter ø is measured at the height of the platform (mean value); it should be at least 30 cm, better 45 cm for the main support tree (1-tree-treehouse).

 

A large diameter brings advantages:

  • The tree is mature & resistant.
  • It can withstand extreme situations (storms, dry spells, branch outbreaks, hail damage, …).
  • It can bear very large loads and will move less in case of storms.
  • A mature tree consumes less energy for height growth; it builds up safety reserves and uses them specifically for wound healing and growing reaction wood.
  • In the case of boreholes, the percentage of injured tissue is lower.

 

 For treehouse construction, this means that the tree must be all the more massive:

  • The greater the load (dead load, wind, snow, wild parties).
  • The more screws are placed in the tree.
  • The higher the treehouse is fixed in the tree.
  • The worse the tree species is suited for treehouse construction.
  • The worse the general condition of the tree.

The Minimum Trunk Diameter MTD ø for our Treehouse Screws GTS:

GTS Allstar
MTD Main Tree
45 cm
MTD Side Trees
35 cm
Suitability according to the above list "Birch or worse"
+ 5 cm
Treehouse very big and heavy
+ 5 cm
Lots of snow, frequent storms
+ 3 cm
Platform higher than 5m: per additional metre
+ 3 cm
More than 1 screw in the tree: each additional screw
+ 3 cm
GTS TOP / Friend / Free / Side
MTD Main Tree
35 cm
MTD Side Trees
30 cm
Suitability according to the above list "Birch or worse"
+ 5 cm
Treehouse very big and heavy
+ 5 cm
Lots of snow, frequent storms
+ 3 cm
Platform higher than 5m: per additional metre
+ 3 cm
More than 1 screw in the tree: each additional screw
+ 3 cm
GTS Safety
MTD Main Tree
20 cm
MTD Side Trees
20 cm
Suitability according to the above list "Birch or worse"
+ 2 cm
Treehouse very big and heavy
+ 2 cm
Lots of snow, frequent storms
+ 2 cm
Platform higher than 5m: per additional metre
+ 2 cm
More than 1 screw in the tree: each additional screw
+ 2 cm

These values serve as a guide for our screws, and should be adjusted individually depending on the situation on site.

4. How to tell if the tree is healthy – alarm signs?

Decades of professional treehouse building have shown that trees do not reject a treehouse, but rather integrate it into their lives as an integral part over time. This is no problem for healthy, mature trees, as they have huge energy reserves. But how do I know if the tree is healthy?

For private and smaller treehouse projects, a visual assessment of the tree is sufficient.

You can see whether the tree is healthy or diseased.

Similar to humans (posture, skin appearance, hair, scars, …), there are also visible alarm signs of poor health in trees:

  • unhealthy crown (little and irregular foliage)
  • many deadwood branches (without foliage)
  • elongated cracks
  • unhealthy dying bark (pest infestation!)
  • woodpecker (insect infestation!)
  • excessive moss
  • hollow sound (knocking test with hammer)
  • many secondary shoots (new “panic shoots” in the middle of the trunk)
  • Fungal fruiting bodies -> do not build here!!!

In addition to the tree, be sure to observe its location and surroundings – be careful with:

  • very soft soils (weak root system)
  • very wet soils or flooded areas
  • trees on steep slopes
  • trees on rocks
  • fungal or insect infestation on neighbouring trees
  • in the case of species-specific disease, e.g. ash and elm dieback, chestnut (leaf miner moth) and spruce (bark beetle)!
  • crooked, crooked trunk
hidden tree house in beautiful tree autumn

Treehouses should only be built in straight-growing and absolutely vital trees!

If there is any doubt about the health of the chosen tree, or if it is a public or particularly large project, always consult a tree biologist or tree engineer.

Always make decisions in favour of the tree, if necessary reduce the size of the treehouse or use stilts for anchoring.

5. How many trees do I need to build a treehouse?

You can build your treehouse in one tree or in several trees! The size and position of the trees in relation to each other are the basis for the design of your platform. Of course, you can also support your platform with stilts; natural, round robinia trunks (also acacia) are particularly suitable for this.

A good distance between the trees is 2 – 6m, with even larger spans you need very large wooden beam dimensions and the beams become incredibly heavy!

Have you found your tree? Then learn how to attach your treehouse to it:

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HOW BIG CAN IT GET?

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WHICH TREE IS BEST?

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DO SCREWS HARM THE TREE?

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Hi treehouse friends!

We will be happy to help you!  Please check our FAQ section first!

There we have already answered the most common questions for you.

In order to be able to advise you optimally, we need:

  1. Sketches (scripted by hand is ok)
  2. Position and height of the platform
  3. Position and size of the treehouse
  4. Photos of the trees
  5. Tree diameter ø at the height of the platform
  6. Tree species
  7. Distance between trees (if more than one)
  8. Use of the treehouse (many people, public, …)
  9. Particularly stormy or snowy region?

“The more concrete your idea, the better I can help you!”

Vitus Wahlländer – Shop Manager

+49 17623339648

thetreehouse.shop

Dürnbachstraße 16a, 83727 Schliersee,  Germany

Servus beinand!

Gerne helfen wir euch weiter!  Bitte checkt vorher unseren FAQ-Bereich!

Dort haben wir die gängigsten Fragen bereits für euch beantwortet.

Um euch optimal beraten zu können benötigen wir:

  1. Skizzen (gerne von Hand gekrizzelt)
  2. Lage und Höhe der Plattform
  3. Position und Größe des Baumhauses
  4. Fotos von den Bäumen
  5. Baumdurchmesser ø auf Höhe der Plattform
  6. Baumart
  7. Abstand der Bäume (falls mehrere)
  8. Nutzen vom Baumhaus (viele Personen, öffentlich, ...)
  9. Besonders Sturm oder Schneereiche Region?

 

"Je konkreter eure Idee, desto besser kann ich euch weiterhelfen!"

Vitus Wahlländer - Chef 

+49 17623339648

thetreehouse.shop

Dürnbachstraße 16a, 83727 Schliersee,  Germany

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