Hanging a swing from a tall tree can seem difficult. You stand at the base of the tree looming above your head; wondering how in the world you are going to get the rope in your hand over the tree branch 40 feet in the air. Let me give you a little encourangement. It can be done.
How to hang a swing from a tall tree? You can hang your swing from a tall tree by following these four steps.
- Tie a throwball, stone, or other weighted object to a piece of twine, string, or other type of throwline that is twice as long as the distance from the branch to the ground.
- Throw the weighted object over the branch so the throwline goes over the branch.
- Tie your rope to the throwline and pull the opposite end of the throwline until your rope goes over the branch and down to the ground.
- Tie a bowline knot on one end of your rope, slip the other end through it, and pull it until the rope is secure around the branch.
The real obstacle is getting your rope over the tall tree’s branch. Once you’ve gotten your rope over the branch, you basically follow the same procedure you would follow when hanging any tree swing.
Tree inspection before you start
Before you start the process of throwing a line over a branch, you need to make sure your tree and branch are strong and health. The first step is to visual inspect the tree for any dry rot, fungus, or mold. These are indicators that the tree may be having problems. The problems could be in a localize area or could be in a broad area of the tree. Either way, you should take care of the health issue before hanging a swing.
After visually inspecting the tree, you should check for hollowing and weakening below the surface of the tree. You can check this by hitting the tree will a soft mallet and listening for a hollow sound. Hitting the tree with a mallet can also help uncover decay under the bark.
Finally, check the tree for bug infestation. Look for trails and holes in the tree where bugs might be entering. If you find any areas that look suspicious, pull off the bark and hit these areas with a mallet to see if bugs have caused structural damage.
If you are unsure of the health and safety of your tree, contact a professional horticulturist or arborist in your area.
Type of throwing objects
Professional climbers use a throwball. A throwball is a sack that is filled with lead or some other weighting material. It has a ring on the end of it to tie a throwline.
You can also use a fishing sinker. Sinkers have a loop on one end that you can tie your throwline on to.
Other objects you could use include a heavy keychain, small stone, or paper weight. Which ever object you choose to throw, do it safely.
Safety when throwing
Safety should be your top priorty when throwing your throwline. Before throwing, clear the area in front and behind you or any people, animals, or possessions that could get broken. Also, put on a helmet and safety glasses. Remember, when you throw something heavy up, it will come back down and can cause injury or damage.
How to throw a throwline
There are a few techniques for throwing a throwball over a tall tree branch. These techniques vary greatly among arborist, but here are a few of the basic types. You can use a one handed swinging techinque. You can use the two hand technique. There is also a device called Big Shot that works like a sling shot to propel your weight over a branch.
One handed technique
For the one handed technique, you tie your throwball to the end of your throwline. Then you tie a slip knot about two to three feet from the throwball on the throwline. When you are ready to throw, you hold the slip knot in one hand and swing the rope back and forth for momentum. Then, when you are ready, on a forward motion, you swing your throwing arm all the way up and let go of the throwball. Sending it flying over the branch.
Two handed technique
For the two handed technique, you tie your throwball to the end of the throwline. Then you pull one to two feet of the throwline through the ring on the throwball. Using both hands, one hand holding the loop that was pulled through the throwball ring and the other hand holding the throwline about one or two feet away from the throwball, you swing the throwball back and forth between your legs (like a granny throw in bowling). When you are ready, swing your arms up on a forward swing and let go of the throwline.
Big Shot technique
The Big Shot is a sling shot machine that some professional arborist use to launch a throwball over a branch more than 100 feet in the air. If your branch is that high and your can’t throw it, you may need to get a Big Shot or call a professional.
For all throw techniques
If your throwline goes into a bushy area of the tree, don’t pull the line back through with the throwball attached. Try to get the throwball to come to the ground or close to the ground so you can detach it. If you pull it back through the bushy area, you may get it tangled and loose your throwball and a portion of your throwline to the tree.
Check out sherrilltree.com to see some a good tutorial with drawings on throwline techinuqes.
And watch this video to see how a professional does it.
How much rope to use
You need to start with a rope that is twice the distance from the ground to the branch. This is so you can pull the rope all the way over the branch and back down to the ground. Once you have tied your bowline knot and pull the rope secure around the tree branch, you will be able to cut the rope to the length you need for the swing. If you don’t want to end up with a short piece of rope, you can leave the rope much longer than double the height and cut it to size.
Also, once you secure the rope to the tree, you will not be able to get it back down without climbing the tree. Don’t attempt to climb the tree if you are not experienced. A piece of rope is not worth the risk.
Types of rope to use for a tall tree swing
The best rope to use for a tall rope swing is polyester. It holds up well under hot and cold weather conditions. It has a high UV resistance. It is strong and not as susceptible to fraying as other ropes. Polyester rope also has a high resistance to stretch. It will return to its original size when stretched.
You can also use polypropylene, though it may not last as long as polyester. It has a lower UV resistance than polyester. Harsh sunlight can deteriorate it; even melt it. Extreme cold can make it brittle. It also can fray much eaiser than polyester. On the plus side, it is resistant to water. With all that said, polypropylene can be a good choice for a swing temporarily or where the heat and cold are not that bad.
How to hang two ropes for a swing
Your swing may need two ropes hung from a tall tree. To accompolish this, you would follow the same procedure for hanging one rope. Once you have the two ropes over the branch you need to get the ropes in the right position before tying your knot to secure the rope to the branch. You can move a rope by holding onto both ends and swinging it with a whipping motion so it moves on the branch.
Types of swings to hang in a tall tree
You can hang just about any swing from a tall tree that you could hang from a shorter tree. But the best swings are listed below.
- Tire swing
- Wood plank swing
- Knotted rope swing
- Log swing
Just because you don’t have a good low branch tree or the tree you really want to hang your swing in has high limbs, you can still hang your swing. It will probably take a few tries to get your throwline over the branch and into the right spot, but you can do it. If you aren’t physically able to throw your throwline high enough, ask a relative or friend to help you.