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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Rules of Thumb - Tree Selection

    The tradegy in Indiana has me re-thinking my decision process when selecting trees to hang from.

    I am familiar with the postings that relate the angle between the suspension and the tree to the loads on the tree. I have also read postings that discuss having too much tension in the suspension. I am familar with looking for widow-makers since that rule applied to tents as well. I have done some "back of a napkin" math that led me to the conclusion that a 6" diameter is a good rule of thumb for a healthy tree so that it won't bend too much from my weight.

    What I have never done is assess the health of the trees beyond a general inspection of "well, it has leaves and doesn't appear to be rotting away".

    What else should I be looking for? How do I decide a tree has a "good" root system?

  2. #2
    all secure in sector 7 Shug's Avatar
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    For me ..... I look at tree angles and I knock on them for sound to determine rot or solid. Also push on them and watch them sway or not. Then I go with my gut.
    Shug
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    Knock on them...if they sound hollow, you might want avoid that one.

    Also, if there's a bear in it, you should probably move on.
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

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  4. #4
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    Besides that particular tree being dead and the root system being rotten, it was too close to an embankment to be sure that it was attached firmly enough to the ground to hold the stress of a hammock with two people in it. At edge of lakes and gorges where the ground is eroding away, trees fall in by their own weight or by the push of the wind, etc.

    When a tree or post isn't firmly attached to the ground you can dislodge them by pulling or pushing on them. And the higher up you push, the more force you can generate at the ground level to break them free. I guess that is the fulcrum affect? That is one of the things that always alarmed me when attaching to walls or other structures but the same holds true with dead trees or trees at the edge of eroding ground.
    Youngblood AT2000

  5. #5
    I first look up for widow maker's and the like, look at the branches if it has leaves or not, knock on it, then I push on it! In the end go with your gut!
    "yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift---thats why its called a present" - Master Oogway
    It's always best if your an early riser!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    I shove first. Assuming I can't make the tree move, then I'll knock. It's frightening how many trees I have intended to hang from, only to knock them to the ground with a moderate shove against the trunk. Makes me feel like I have Super Powers.
    Trust nobody!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    Either superpowers or pine beetles. I'm sure the superpowers are more likely!
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

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  8. #8
    watch out for hanging from a forked tree - check to make sure that no one has broken firewood in the fork of the tree causing the inside of the fork to die - this got me once near Old Orchard shelter on the AT

    watch out for hanging on Magnolia acuminata (big leaf, deciduous) in sandy soil - a thunderstorm got me with this one in the Sipsey - go no smaller than 8 inches diameter with this tree

  9. #9
    Senior Member grampa's Avatar
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    Beware of eucalyptus - they can shed live, green branches unexpectedly!

    I once saw one drop on a friend's brand new car - no one hurt, but we stood aghast as his brand new van got a large crease in the roof! No wind, green branch!

  10. #10
    Senior Member lizzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grampa View Post
    Beware of eucalyptus - they can shed live, green branches unexpectedly!

    I once saw one drop on a friend's brand new car - no one hurt, but we stood aghast as his brand new van got a large crease in the roof! No wind, green branch!
    Hi Grampa - lot's of them eucalyptus here in So Cal, eh? They are scary. I was in a wooded park in strong winds one day among them, and you could actually here those eucalyptus cracking and creaking loudly - I was afraid just walking around!

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