Tree Hugger System
Working with nature: Greenheart “tree hugger technology” With years of experience working with trees Greenheart has been able to design and a non-invasive suspension system to support both our canopy walkways and flightlines. The unique “tree hugger” system allows us to suspend our platforms and cables without bolting or damaging the host tree.
The ‘Tree Hugger’ is a cable mesh which is woven in-place, allowing normal tree radial expansion during growth, and accommodates limbs and surface irregularities (bulges) without totally covering or breaching the bark surface. An important feature of the ‘Tree Hugger’, is when the live load (i.e. people, wind) are removed, the tension in the cable strands lower accordingly, and take all but the dead load off the tree surface. This avoids strangling, thus minimizing any long-term duress on the tree.
The cable used for the ‘Tree Hugger’ is super flexible, fibre core, steel strand, which conforms to the irregular tree surface, releases tension properly and is not subject to UV or other environmental degradation, the bane of softer synthetic, polymer strands. The system can be offloaded during the off-season with no impact to the host tree.
The ‘Tree Hugger’ strands are equalized through the connection at the top of the pendulum. This distributes the load evenly to the (tension field), with greatest tension in the lower area, gradually dissipating as the tree surface picks up the applied loading (very small radial loading at the top); the larger the load, the higher up the field is the effect, with the cables moving an incremental amount relative to each other in distributing the load. In recent years, with more emphasis being placed on ecology and the environment, it is preferable when building systems that interface with living trees, to eliminate any damage to the trees. A Greenheart specialty has been the installation of tree platforms, ziplines and walkways extending between living trees in a closed circuit usually to allow scientists to study the niche ecosystem of the region above the forest floor within the Promoting and Preserving Nature Greenheart
branches and foliage of the trees. The public is also interested in exploring this hitherto inaccessible area. However, existing construction systems and techniques that interface with trees are generally not environmentally friendly to the trees and involve driving fasteners through the tree bark into the interior of the tree. Besides physically damaging the tree, perforating the bark provides a pathway for fungal or insect attack. Systems that rely on piercing fasteners for mounting to a tree do not accommodate growth of the tree and are at odds with an environmentally friendly approach.