As a kid growing up, I always loved treehouses, and as an adult, I know the kids still love them. So, do you want to build a treehouse but don’t know what trees are best for it?
Keep reading, I’ll be filling you in on the best trees for treehouses.
Factors To Consider Before Building Your Treehouse
As with any major project, building a treehouse comes with several factors that need to be taken into consideration.
It isn’t strange to see homeowners rush into building a treehouse, maybe out of excitement or pressure from their kids, without considering some important factors first.
Building a treehouse without a proper plan can lead to many unpleasant outcomes. Some of which include –
- Damage to the tree
- Prosecution or fines from violation of county/state ordinances
- Injuries to inhabitants of the treehouse
- Injuries to those below the treehouse
- Possible death
So what are these factors that need to be thoroughly considered before you start building your treehouse?
Let’s take a look at them one by one.
The first factor you need to consider when building your treehouse has to be the safety of your family or any other inhabitants of the house. The safety of the people around the immediate surroundings of the treehouse also has to be taken to heart.
Be sure the treehouse is sturdily built with the best possible materials. Remember, a treehouse is exposed to all sorts of weather conditions every single day.
If it is not sturdily built, it will give in to the pressure of human weight and weather elements. The outcome of that is one best imagined than said.
The materials used in building the treehouse should also be lightweight. This is because heavy building materials will only put unwanted pressure on the tree itself. This can cause it to bend, and the branches to break off.
The Size Of The Tree
The size of the tree where you’ll be mounting the treehouse is also an important factor to consider. The tree size will ultimately determine the size of the treehouse you will build.
If for instance, you want to build a treehouse that is sized at 8 feet by 8 feet, then a tree with a trunk of 12 inches and above in diameter is your best bet.
The Condition Of The Tree
Is the tree in question a young or old tree? Is it healthy and firm?
You have to ask yourself these questions before you build a treehouse on it.
Young, growing trees are not your best choice for a treehouse. More matured, thick-branched trees that are firm and deeply rooted should be your pick.
The tree should also be resistant to pest infestation, insects, and fungus.
The Species Of The Tree
Deciduous trees are known for losing their leaves during the winter or fall period. They are also famed for growing slowly and having dense, strong wood. Such trees are perfect for treehouses, as their ruggedness can match the weight of a treehouse.
An Oaktree is a great species for building treehouses, as well as Cedar, Hemlock, and Apple trees.
The above-mentioned trees usually grow very large and they are pretty strong. They also can withstand the year-round pressure from different weather conditions.
Whether we like it or not, a treehouse is a building, being built on an already existing piece of property. For this reason, be advised to check your State/County building codes before you proceed.
Although most counties do not require permits for building small-sized backyard treehouses, building the larger, more complex treehouses will need permits.
This, however, differs from state to state.
As I mentioned earlier, check with your city’s building codes first. By doing this, you will be certain you are not violating any building laws.
Top Tree Species For Constructing TreeHouses
As far as the best trees for treehouses are concerned, I’d like to list out my top 4 picks.
- Oak Tree
The Oaktree is characterized by it’s thick, broad leaves and is a member of the beech tree family.
They are deciduous trees (they lose their leaves during the winter and fall) and are one of the best shade trees on Earth.
Oak trees are great for treehouses because they are usually pest and insect free. They also grow to heights as high as 70 feet.
Another great feature of an Oak tree is its ability to adapt to different types of soil types and weather conditions.
They also live up to 200 years, meaning your treehouse can be inherited by the coming generations.
Lastly, Oak trees produce a fruit called Acorn, although from the age of 20 years and above. All the same, a lucky few will enjoy the fruit while relaxing in the treehouse!
- Maple Trees
Maple trees are also a great choice for treehouses. They are also large trees and they have thick branches and leaves that produce a sufficient amount of shade.
There are different types of maple trees and they have varying heights, some of them grow as tall as 100 feet!
A great advantage of building your treehouse on a maple tree is that they can withstand any weather condition. They are very versatile trees that can grow pretty much anywhere.
- Cedar Trees
A cedar tree also belongs in the heavyweight class of trees, as they are tall and large. Some species of cedar trees grow as tall as 200 feet!
A unique feature of Cedar trees is that their leaves remain green all year round. This means your treehouse will have a natural, beautiful look every single day!
As for thickness, well the branches are very thick and are found close to each other. Their leaves barely fall so the trees look fresh and healthy all the time.
This coniferous tree typically grows into a cone-shaped pyramid, making it one of the most unique looking trees fit for treehouses.
- Hemlock Tree
The Hemlock tree is without a doubt, one of the best trees for treehouses you can find. There are different species of the tree, but the two major types are the eastern hemlock and the western hemlock.
In the U.S.A, Canada, and some parts of Asia, you can find many species of the hemlock tree.
One of the greatest and most useful features of the hemlock tree is the hardness of the wood. As the hemlock tree gets older, the harder the wood becomes.
This makes it an excellent choice for lumberjacks, and of course for treehouses. The wood from Hemlock trees is widely used across America for furniture, paneling, and flooring.
They are truly, as hard as you can find.
The Hemlock tree is a long-living tree, up to 200 years. It takes between 20 to 40 years before they start producing fruit from their pinecones.
This tree also grows very tall, they can grow to heights of up to 150 feet.
Besides its strong wood, the Hemlock tree has other commercial values. The bark produces tannic acid, which can make the leather softer and more durable. Vitamin-C rich Pine needle tea is also produced from the Hemlock tree.
Can Treehouses Hurt Trees?
The answer to this is YES, treehouses can hurt trees.
Although the damage a treehouse causes to the tree is pretty much as minimal as the damage pruning can cause the tree.
The truth is, every time you walk around a tree, you compress the soil. Keep in mind that the roots of the tree are trying to absorb the much-needed nutrients via the air pockets that were open before you stepped on the soil and compressed it.
Another way a treehouse hurts the tree is by digging holes and screwing of pins to posts that support the treehouse. Doing this cuts off some of the tree’s absorbing roots.
Lastly, the weight of the treehouse itself puts some pressure on the tree. This is why large, strong, deeply rooted trees are the best choices for treehouses.
The hurt a treehouse inflicts on a tree is insignificant, since the tree continues to thrive hundreds of years after the treehouse has been built.
Nonetheless, treehouses are not natural and there is no way a treehouse will be built without a few scars here and there.
Why Do People Build Treehouses?
Treehouses are built for many reasons. The most popular being for recreation.
Many homeowners build treehouses so they can have their kids play there. Others build it to be used as an extra workspace, while some build it strictly for personal meditation space.
There you have it, my top picks for best trees for treehouses. Hope this article has been enlightening.