When it comes to considering ways to hang a swing from a live tree, think about safety first for both the tree and the swing rider. If you have a strong, thick tree branch hanging over an area with no obstacles, there are several ways to hang a sturdy swing from this ideal position. Unless you're using chain, have at least a 1/2-inch thick sturdy rope and know how to tie the appropriate knots.
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Eye Hooks and Carabiners
Steve Silk of "Fine Gardening" magazine suggests using a mounting system comprised of eye hooks and carabiners. A carabiner is an oblong metal clip used by mountaineers. Attach your wooden plank swing to two ropes suspended from a strong tree limb of at least 6 inches in diameter. Attach the ropes via knots to two carabiners. Clasp the carabiners to two eye hooks screwed deep into the limb a bit further apart than the width of your tree swing. Make sure your eye hooks are at least 3/8-inch thick for a sturdier swing.
Eyebolt, Washer and Locknut
This method suggested by the Martha Stewart website requires a drill and is for a tire swing. You need an eyebolt 3/8 inches in diameter and long enough to go through the entire branch and be secured into place with a washer and locknut. Drill a hole in the branch for placing your eyebolt. Secure the washer and locknut to the exposed end of the eyebolt. Tie the rope attached to your tire swing to the eyebolt so that it hangs from the tree at a level low enough for those who will use it.
Hanging your swing on a live tree with a rope is another option, but consider that rope friction can strip away the bark and leave damaging grooves in the wood. This option harms the tree over time.
Try a polypropylene or nylon rope for a swing to ensure it lasts a long time. Loop the rope or ropes attached to your swing around the sturdy tree limb and secure in place with a bowline knot.
If you're attaching your swing to a live tree with chain only, you will damage your tree due to the friction of the chain against the limb. For best results, fasten the chain attached to your swing via the eyehook or eyebolt hanging methods. Select a thick chain that is corrosion-resistant. "Better Homes and Gardens" magazine suggests using coated soft-grip chain that won't hurt little hands.
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