Attaching to trees SAFELY

ptilda(3/4)July 6, 2009

I happen to have many mature trees (primarily oaks) in my yard, providing lovely shade and beauty all around. However, I've been wanting to attach hooks for planters, birdhouses, wind-chimes and other items to the trees. Are there any bands or some sort of safe winches that could be pulled around the tree & loosened without damaging the tree?

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DH just put two hooks in 2 of our trees to put up hammack. Putting them doesn't hurt the tree, it's taking them out. Leave holes then desease can get in...

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 8:13AM
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nmgirl(8 S.NM)

Putting a band or any sort of constriction around a tree or branch might crush or cut off the circulatory system of the plant. It comparable to putting a rubber band around a finger or a tourniquet around an arm or leg. Please don't do it. Inserting or installing nails, screws or whatever into the tree wounds it and, until the tree heals over the area, can be a source of disease or pest entrance. Never remove a nail or hook from a tree once it has been installed or if the tree has grown around it. Just cut it flush with the trunk and leave it. Hanging heavy objects from limbs will cut into the tree and also do damage. If you must hang items from a limb please pad it with a section of old hose, bicycle tire,...put something between the tree and whatever you're using to hang your object.
Consider investing in some shepherds hooks or attractive metal trellis/plant hangers that go in the ground instead of the tree. Since these can be moved around your garden they are much more useful in the long run.
Have a great day!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 11:14AM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

I think you will find everyone has an opinion.I agree it could be detrimental to some trees,apparently not all. With the humidity and diseases in Florida I only poke the Palm tree(which are really a fibrous grass) that I know I will remove in the future.The Laurel Oaks here are so shallow rooted you cannot disturb the roots or drive on them. Because we had heavy equipment here to dig our ponds Mine went into distress. A year later I lost 8 to Hypoxylon Oak Cancre and have since lost many others.It is devasting to lose a mature tree.
here is from the arbor Day site.It is about carving but helps you understand about the cambium layer
Arbor Day Foundation We inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees.


I have some mature trees, Cottonwood and Cherry, that I wanted to try some carving on. I wanted to remove the bark and chisel faces into the wood. I know that winter is the time for pruning, but I wonder if I would do the trees serious harm? Any thoughts?


Answers from our Tree Forum:

Quirky Quercus said:
I could be wrong but I don't think you're going to find many proponents of carving into the bark of live trees here.

If you decide to do it, it would be fitting to carve a frown face as wounding the tree unnecessarily can't be good. No guarantees that it will do harm, but it sure as heck isn't going to bring about better health of the tree.

I remember seeing wooden tree faces at a nursery once that you can hang on the tree with a nail. Sure, that's not great either but if your trees absolutely have to have a face and you want to carve it, I think that's the ticket. Carve into a piece of wood and then hang it up.

Ellyssian said:
I would advise against it.

The cambium - the part of the tree that is actually alive - is directly below the bark. If you cut into that, you stop all the nutrients from going to and from the roots and leaves for the parts you cut.

If you cut a wide enough, just-deep-enough, area around the entire tree (known as "girdling"), you will most likely kill the tree. This is often used as a way to remove trees in forest management - where the tree is not in a place where it is a danger to whatever it might fall on.

Smaller cuts - and sometimes some trees with full girdling - can heal themselves, but the cut is a point for insects and disease to enter the tree and cause further damage.

Red Maple said:
Along woodland trails the American beech tree's smooth bark is often covered with the carvings of initials and names. Carvings into beech bark will last for the lifespan of the tree. Once a tree has been carved on it is so tempting for the next person to add their mark.

Ellyssian & Quirky Quercus are right. The wounds caused by the carvings leave the tree open for fungi or wood damaging insects.

Best to leave your cherry and cottonwood trees alone. Enjoy them as they are.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 2:27PM
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Keeping in mind that:
1. trees are routinely pruned for good health.
2. Treehouses are built all the time without damaging the trees.
3. Trees are bored into by animals for nests all the time.

Trees are very tough.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 3:37PM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

We have used bungees to attach staghorn ferns. They stretch.
At the garden centers are these hooks that are hooked on BOTH ends .You chang one hook over a branch and hang your pretty on the other end.We use those to hand orchids from trees in Florida
Have fun!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 1:24PM
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spedigrees z4VT

Our Vermont sugar maples are full of hundreds of drilled holes from years and years of tapping for maple syrup manufacturing. If this hurt the trees, sugar makers would have all gone bankrupt long ago.

In fact I worked for many years at a plywood mill where trees were peeled into layers of veneer on a lathe. It was common to find slices of maple wood riddled with holes from sugar makers' taps, and we even found the occasional bullets that had been lodged in the wood for years.

In my lifetime we have employed trees as fenceposts and they live on today unimpaired by many generations of barbed wire partially embedded in the bark and wood. Likewise with the quaking aspen that held my clothesline for decades. It has finally lived its natural life and died of old age at about 40 years (very old for an aspen.)

The caution not to remove a hook from your tree once it is placed is a good one.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 1:42PM
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