Hammock – Damaging Tree Bark with Chain

Q: A couple of weeks ago, a reader wanted a way to hang a hammock from her trees without harming them. We hang a hammock, with no invasion to our trees, using a chain around each tree’s trunk connected to the hammock with an S-hook. This set up must be adjusted every year, to accommodate the tree’s growth.

A: Actually, I think wrapping ANYTHING around a tree is more likely to cause harm than simply boring a hole through the trunk. Tree bark is softer and more prone to compression damage than you might think. If an adult sits or swings in the hammock, your chain links will inevitably press into the bark, damaging the cambium layer underneath.

The cambium layer is vital. It transports food and water between the roots and the leaves. By boring through the tree rather than wrapping something around the trunk one causes little damage to the cambium. The tree will soon heal around an eyebolt, as I recommended. By the way, using an old water hose to pad wire or chain around a tree trunk is a TERRIBLE idea. If anything must be wrapped around a trunk it should be at least one to two inches wide. Wide nylon strap is manufactured for this purpose.

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