If you ask us, tree swings are funny things: They don’t travel far, but they can carry us all the way back to simpler times. In fact, even when we’re not the riders, swings take us back to our childhoods -- and we want our tiny tots to know that such simple joys exist. But for them to truly be carefree, we need to worry just a little for them, to let them experience the small ouchies while protecting them from the big ones. A tree swing is a nostalgic joy, but it requires care and thought as much as it needs a heavy-duty rope and a strong limb.
Thinking about hanging a tree swing? Here’s how to do it the right way.
Choose a Sturdy Tree and Branch
If you’re not all that tree-savvy, feel free to recruit the help of an arborist to help you select the right tree for your swing. In general, though, it’s pretty easy to tell a suitable tree from a bad one.
You can tell this from the presence of leaves and the flexibility of the branches. Keep an eye out for a pesky bug infestation as well, as that can threaten the integrity of the tree limb all on its own. Fruit trees may be suitable for your swing, but the best trees of all are generally hardwood trees like the classic oak or sugar maple.
We’re sure you’ve seen plenty of swings hanging from pine trees, but the truth is that these trees are pretty ‘springy,’ which can cause the limb to snap after some time. And let’s just be honest here -- if you’re taking the time and effort to install a totally awesome tree swing, you want to make sure it’s installed properly the first time around, so you don’t have to do it again a year or so later, right?
Choosing the right tree branch is just as important as choosing the right tree. A long, sturdy branch parallel to the ground is ideal. It should be between twelve and twenty feet off the ground and at least eight inches in diameter when measured three feet from the tree trunk. Just like the tree, the limb must also be healthy. Symptoms of a sick tree might include holes or cracks, missing bark, broken or dead limb tips, and missing or sick leaves. Additionally, keep an eye out for tree pests as well.
Pay particular attention to the union of the limb and trunk for cracks or signs of weak attachment, including crowding by other limbs. Even after you’ve installed your swing, it’s wise to keep an eye on the tree and limb for changes in their health.
Note: You don’t want to have your tree swing near the end of the branch where it is weakest, but rather somewhere near the center that is far enough away from the trunk so that the swing will not inadvertently send people crashing into the tree as they swing-- ouch!
The rule of thumb is to give a good four to five feet of distance between the trunk and the swing.
Once you’ve picked the perfect tree and a sturdy branch, it’s time to install SwingTie, the original creator of the ultimate for attaching a swing to a tree.
We love SwingTie for many reasons. For starters, it’s extremely easy to install, taking no more than three minutes. SwingTie is extremely strong as well as durable and is rated to hold up to 1,000 pounds. And the best part? You won’t have to worry about damaging the tree because SwingTie doesn’t rely on drilling unsightly holes or screws. All you have to do is hang the tie over the desired branch. Then, loop the small ring and carabiner through the large loop. Pull the small tight so that the largest loop slides up to meet the branch, and voila! Yes, it is really that easy.
Sure, you can always tie a rope to the branch, but it really isn’t ideal because the friction from the swinging rope can cut into the bark. You see, the rope will move slightly with each swing, so the tree can’t heal itself properly over the rope, leaving constantly open wounds in the branch. SwingTie is made from lightweight, heavy-duty nylon and won’t damage your tree -- hence why it’s our preferred choice when looking to install a tree swing!
Connect The SwingTie Swivel Spinner To The Carabiner
Now that SwingTie is installed, it’s time to connect the hottest SwingTie accessory for any swing -- the Swivel Spinner. This will allow you to easily spin without the SwingTie hanger twisting or kinking. The smooth design allows for 360-degree rotation with frictionless sealed ball bearings and holds up to 2,000 pounds.
All you have to do is hook it onto the carabiner, and then you can move to the next step: the rope.
Knot The Rope Onto The SwingTie Swivel Spinner
Picking the right rope for your tree swing is crucial. You don’t want something that will snap after a few swings -- you’re looking for durability. The best type of rope for your tree swing will be made of a long-lasting fiber, such as nylon or polyester that’s at least one-half inch thick.
Attach The Swing To The Other End Of The Rope
Finally, now it’s time to attach your swing to the rope. For a single-rope swing, the disc seat sits perfectly on a bulky stopper knot. One that works really well is a double overhand, which is level across the top and super simple to tie.
Test Your Swing
After you’ve hung your swing, it’s of the utmost importance to test everything -- especially prior to letting the little ones on. Start cautiously, but make sure you give everything a rigorous workout! Pull down hard on the rope in all directions, press down on the swing, sit on it, double-check your knots, and take it for a test drive.
Pay close attention to how the limb reacts and listen well. If you notice significant bowing of the limb when the swing is in use or any unusual shaking, you may need to move the anchor point a little closer to the trunk or pick a new branch. Make sure the swing has all the clearance from the tree you expected and think about all the silly things you did on a swing as a kid and assume the worst about today’s little monsters. Check the knots again for any signs of slippage, and when everything checks out -- it’s playtime.
A Final Word
Trees are living, breathing things. If you’re planning on installing a tree swing, it’s critical to the health of the tree that you don’t drill any holes into it or tie a rope directly to the tree limb, which could cause wounds to the branch. If you take the proper precautions and show some TLC to the tree, it will take care of you in return, with many years of swinging fun to come.
For all of your swinging needs, SwingTie can help. Whether you’re looking to install a tire swing, tree swing, or hammock, SwingTie is the quickest way to get swinging! It installs in under three minutes, and no hardware or tools are required. And the best part? SwingTie is totally portable, so you can take these super-straps with you anywhere.
Check out SwingTie and get outdoors today!