little girl playing in backyard with a homemade tree swing

How to Choose a Safe Tree for a Swing, Tree House or Hammock

Swings, treehouses and hammocks are fun additions to your backyard, but you need to make sure you’re choosing the right tree!

Swings, treehouses and hammocks are great additions to your backyard. Plus, building them can be a fun family project. However, choosing the right tree is important, both to ensure that your yard remains safe and to avoid damaging your trees.


Tree Health

One thing to keep in mind is that treehouses will always put stress on a tree, as will swings and hammocks, especially if they’re used often. It’s not necessarily an issue in itself, as the added stress is unlikely to cause major problems for a healthy tree. However, building a treehouse in a tree that’s sick or injured could make things worse, even leading to the death of the tree.

Make sure to check for broken or weak limbs or signs of disease. Contact an arborist for an evaluation if you find anything unusual. Keep in mind you may still be able to use the tree, depending on what the assessment reveals.


Tree Type: Softwood vs Hardwood

No matter how strong your attachment bolts are, softwood won’t be able to support as much weight as hardwood. This doesn’t mean you can’t build a treehouse in a softwood tree, but making sure your construction isn’t too heavy is crucial.

  • Strong hardwood trees: maple, oak, walnut, balsa, hickory, etc.
  • Unstable softwood trees: pine, cedar, spruce, redwood, douglas fir, and more.

Tree Environment

Adding a swing or treehouse means there’s going to be a lot more traffic around it. Avoid selecting trees close to power lines and other hazards. It’s also important to consider how any future changes to the environment may impact the tree and its ability to safely support the structure. When choosing your tree, keep in mind that its roots probably extend at least two to three metres further than its branches. This will help you plan around any possible digging or landscaping work that might impact the tree.


Significance of the Tree

It’s not unusual for homeowners or their children to have a favourite tree, and it may be tempting to build a treehouse in its branches or add a swing to it. However, because of the potential impact and stress of adding construction to a tree, it’s recommended to avoid picking one that means a lot to you and your family.


Expert Tree Services in Alberta ARE A PHONE Call away

All Season Tree Service can help you choose the right tree for your project and take care of it along the way. We serve customers around the Edmonton region and are happy to help provide a hazardous tree assessment, tree removal, pruning or stump removal. Contact us today to find out to find out more!