I’m building a treehouse between three trees.
Do I have to take into account how fast each grows?
Question Submitted by Ron F.
Two of the trees won’t be a problem I think as they are both about twenty-four inch diameter oak trees. I plan to build the treehouse well below where their growth is occurring at about eight ft. My only concern for my treehouse is for the 9 inch maple that I plan to use as the third side of the triangular platform. I am worried that the maple tree will grow faster than the oak trees and will grow to make the platform uneven. Should I worried about building a treehouse between different kinds of trees?
How trees grow
Like you alluded to, trees grow from the top. The branches on the tree will only ever be at the height they grow out of the trunk. Anything you might attach to a tree at any height will always be that height from the ground.
It really doesn’t matter what species the trees are whether they are all one kind or three different kinds. Trees do grow wider in diameter throughout their growth cycle so it is important how you attach to the younger tree.
The two oaks are older and most trees grow the most when they are younger. At 24 inches, these are relatively old and established. They are probably only adding less than 8% mass per season.
The maple at only 9 inches will be adding a lot higher mass per season so expect the maple to get much wider over the years whereas the oaks will essentially stay pretty much the same.
Issues of building a treehouse between trees
When building a treehouse between trees, your biggest issue is the way each tree will move when the wind blows. The big oaks will probably remain pretty still, however the maple is still pretty flexible so it will move around much more.
If you bolt solidly into all three trees, this could rip the framing of your treehouse apart, or at least seriously weaken it.
I would recommend connecting the supports to the two oaks since they are less likely to flex and then attach the treehouse with a sliding mount. Keep in mind not to build the treehouse directly against the maple tree so you don’t have the tree rubbing up against your structure.
In this configuration, your most stable trees would be involved in controlling the horizontal positioning and the other one would be free to move. You should consider greasing the sliding mounts to minimize wear and prevent creaking noises.
The right way to build treehouses
Make sure you protect your trees especially the young maple by never wrapping any mounts around the tree. This causes “girdling” when as the tree gains mass around it’s trunk and might actually kill your tree.
This is where having a great set of treehouse plans to make sure you not only create an amazing treehouse, but you also do it in a way that will ensure your treehouse will be around for years to come.