Nail 2x6 between two trees?

Mr Lyn

New Member
I want to nail a 2x6 between two trees and hang a porch swing from it. One tree is about 6" diameter; the other about 14". I would use 4" or 6" galvanized nails. Two nails into each tree. I'm finding completely opposite advice about nailing into trees. Will this work or should I abandon this idea? Thanks for replies.


Well-Known Member
I built a spiral stairway to a loft in a sweet gum tree in our back yard. What I found that worked well so far (25 years) is a 1/2" threaded galvanized nipple, with threaded end cap. I drilled a total of 8 ascending holes, spiraling up the trunk, then screwed the steel nipples into the tree as a stud, then attached a treated 2x10 with the nut. I think I would recommend that you make the hole in the 2x10 somewhat elongated to allow some movement between the two trees, and use a large surface washer under the nut.


Very stable member
Florida, USA
A six inch diameter tree isn't one I'd want to load with a porch swing. A14" tree wouldn't be my first choice either. Bad plan. Just buy or build a porch swing set that is self supporting and set it under the shade of the two trees, and everybody will be happy.
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Well-Known Member
Abandon the idea.

Like @cerviarborist said, that is not big enough for a swing.

The biggest problem with nailing into the tree is that the tree wants to grow in diameter, but the board is in the way for that portion of the trunk. Just the nails are not a is the board against the trunk.


Well-Known Member
Olympia, WA
A question is, what can you learn about taking care of those two trees to allow a great spot for a swing to become better and better?

Great starting place to ask before nailing.

Most trees need/ want mulch and some water, if dry during the growing season.

-No mulching in the buttress roots or trunk.

-Watering where the absorbing roots are/ where you want them to grow.
Not at the trunk. Critical Root Zone is commonly considered to be an inch of trunk diameter at 4.5' of the ground ( on the uphill side, if on a hill) converts to a foot of radius from the trunk (not species or environment specific).

6" tree would have a CRZ of 6' radius + 6' radius + 6" of trunk = 12'6", with the roots extending even father. Your 14" tree's CRZ about 30' diameter.
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Well-Known Member
Puget Sound
Thanks for the replies. "Abandon" wins.
Yeah, really bad idea for all those reasons. The trees will move independently in a breeze so you don't want them held rigidly together like that. Also, trees normally don't like multiple nails or spikes close together. That can kill the wood in between and lead to rot, insects, etc. Ditto with the board spiked right against it. Tree house builders use single attachment points with the beam or other structure held out a little ways from the tree so it can grow, and also on a slotted attachment point if between trees or limbs so the tree can move. A completely standalone swing structure is a better idea, as suggested, and has the additional advantage that you can move it to different locations later if you want.

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