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Removing A Tree House

Question: I recently moved into a new home and there is a dilapidated tree house in a large Oak tree in the backyard that I want to remove. I am concerned about damaging the tree. Do you have any tips or suggestions?

Answer: If the tree house is falling apart, my first tip is to be extremely careful for your own safety. The use of protective clothing, gloves, goggles and safety boots or shoes is a must. Always have a person with you, on the ground, just in case of disaster and to move any debris away from under where you are working. Secondarily, removing any structure that is not sound is not a project for the kids!

If the tree house has been in place for a number of years, I would surmise that the Oak tree has grown and may have actually grown around some of the tree house lumber. When you are removing the lumber from the tree house I would suggest that you use a tree wound dressing on any areas of branches, limbs or the main trunk that are bare (no bark covering) once the board is removed. This also applies to holes that are left after removal of nails or other fasteners.

The best way to demo the tree house is to start at the top and work downwards. Every time a board is removed or a nail is pulled, use the tree wound dressing, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Be careful when using the limbs, branches or trunks of the tree to leverage wrecking or pry bars, as you can damage the tree quite easily. If damage does occur, use the tree wound dressing.

Selection of tree wound dressings.

It is also important to realize that some of the branches and limbs may have weak spots, once the tree house lumber is removed, and may have to be pruned back.