How to Choose the Best Tree for a Tree Swing

How to Choose the Best Tree for a Tree Swing

Summer is here! That means children are out of school and ready to play. What better way to bring joy to your children than a hand-crafted tree swing? Turn your landscape into a playground where kids can run freely, swing high into the trees and enjoy summer’s warm and playful spirit.

Below, Greg Mazur, department manager at the Davey Institute, shares his advice on how to pick the perfect tree for your tree swing. Here are Mazur’s Top 3 Tips for Tree Swing Success:

1. Pick A Well Established Tree. Mazur suggests scoping your landscape for an older, well-established tree that is very sturdy and strong. A newly planted tree will not be able to withstand the swing’s weight, affecting its growth and health for years to come.

“It's not a matter of just going outside and selecting a tree and attaching the swing,” Mazur says. “They have to be planted decades in advance.”

 

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2. The Tree You Choose Needs Strong Horizontal Branching. In order to attach a tree swing successfully, you need strong horizontal branches that can endure the weight of the swing. Mazur suggests these two types of trees—including strong horizontal branches, of course—for ultimate success:

For Northern States: Bur Oak—This species of oak is mighty and massive. It has a wide-based trunk with rough and deep-textured bark—allowing it to survive inclement weather, from drought to storms. The burr oak spans from the east coast to the west and from the southern tip of Texas all the way into Canada.

“A tree like the bur oak, with strong, rigid horizontal branching would make a great tree for swings,” Mazur says.

For Southern States: Live Oak—This tree species is known as an iconic tree of the south, with wide canopies feathered with Spanish moss. Live oaks are remarkably strong and live for hundreds of years. They provides amazing shade; perfect for a cooling afternoon on your new tree swing.    

 

3. Move the Tree Swing Periodically. To ensure your tree swing’s longevity, make sure to move the tree swing every so often, so the rope doesn’t dig into the branches. You want to make sure the swing isn’t causing unnecessary damage to your tree.

Now that you have chosen the perfect tree for tree swing success, here are some tree swing ideas from Davey’s Pinterest Page: http://ow.ly/Ppfah

Spend the summer outside, under the cool shade of your trees! Install a classic wood and rope swing or a new and innovative skateboard tree swing for two; either way, you will be happy you did.

Comment below with your tree swing success stories! We would love to hear how you are spending your summer In the Shade.

  • The Tree Doctor July 27, 2015 >Hi Jesse! Thank you for reaching out to Davey on our blog. We appreciate your comment. According to the Davey Institute's technical advisors, yes, bolting the swing to a branch would make the swing more secure. However, the wound from the bolt would provide an avenue for wood decay/fungi. The hardware should also be tied into the tree's lighting protection system, should one exist. Does this help clarify your question? If you need more clarification, just let us know! Thank you.
  • Jesse Eastman July 26, 2015 >Wouldn't it be better to anchor the swing by bolting it through the branch rather than tying a rope around it?
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