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wildpotato's avatar

What is the best way to avoid harming trees when hanging a hammock from them?

Asked by wildpotato (15011points) June 18th, 2014 from iPhone

I got a rope hanging kit from Pier 1, but it’s just the rope and hook attachments, nothing else – and I remember from college that the slackliners would always put big pieces of foam between the ropes and the trees. Should I be doing that, or is it overkill?

These are two white birch trees, if that makes a difference – they are hardwood but do not have strong bark.

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12 Answers

Pachy's avatar

Maybe this will help you.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Don’t use nails!

filmfann's avatar

Go around the tree a few times with the rope. If you go around just once, it will cut into the tree.

btw, hammocks are very bad for the back. If you have a bad back, abandon this idea.

wildpotato's avatar

@filmfann Aha! Genius. Thank you for the tip.

Hammocks only hurt the back if you lay on them improperly – which is the way you always see people lay in them, with the head pointed at the tip and feet straight down. Really, one should lie in a hammock on the diagonal – it keeps your back straight. Feels odd at first but you get used to it.

@Pachy My dad and I tried it the way that article describes with a pair of oaks many years ago, and it didn’t go so well – after about a year the tension still made the ring around the tree. That’s why I went with the Pier 1 kit; it doesn’t wrap around the diameter but only one side, then has tighteners – but after getting it up the ropes just seem like they wouldn’t be padded enough. Maybe garden border with the kit would work – but I think I’ll try @filmfann‘s suggestion first; seems most logical.

elbanditoroso's avatar

If we assume that trees have personalities and some sort of consciousness – which, at some level they must in order to react to sun and water – then I would like to suggest that driving a nail or two into a tree is not harmful at all.

I would suggest that the tree, if not used for a hammock, is sitting there unfulfilled. Yes, it is giving shade and creating oxygen, but those are both passive activities.

By sustaining a single hole, the tree is actually contributing to reaching it’s full potential – its essential “treeness” – by using its strength and sturdiness to provide rest and support for humans.

Supporting a hammock allows the tree to contribute back to society. Therefore, a nail or a hook is a small contribution that the tree can make to the betterment of the world.

Stinley's avatar

You could buy a piece of pipe insulation from a DIY store (quite cheap) or a pool noodle to use as padding

Coloma's avatar

My old house had several giant Oak trees in the front yard, 2 of which were about 10 feet apart, the prior owners of decades had put two heavy duty bolt type eye hooks on the trees to suspend a hammock, the trees were just fine, no disease or issues for years and years. I probably wouldn’t have pounded those bolts in, but, the trees had healed and closed around the holes and removing them would have caused a lot of damage.

Seek's avatar

I want one of these

All the hammock, none of the being tied to a tree.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Whenever I hang hammocks I wrap the rope around the tree and then clip the hammock to the rope. It makes it quite portable and doesn’t do lasting damage to the tree.

I would also say laying in a hammock does wonders for my back if you lay in it properly.

Balmung's avatar

Don’t hang a hammock, it works everytime!

majorrich's avatar

Use strapping rather than ropes! Ropes can cut through bark and damage the tree. I have been using hammocks for camping since it became difficult for me to arise from the ground whilst camping. I prefer 2” because it feels more substantial and spreads the load over a wider area, reducing impact.
Perhaps it’s superstition, but I won’t hang from sycamore trees. They hate hangers and are supposed to fall and crush. I’ve seen it, but probably it was a coincidence.

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