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I'd like to put a bird house (below) into my back garden tree but am not sure what's the best way to do it. I've read opinions that affixing a birdhouse by hammering nails into it & into the tree might harm the three, as would tying rope around it (tight enough to hold the weight of the birdhouse).

Thus wrapping the birdhouse around the trunk or nailing it do not seem like good ideas. What else can I try? I could try hanging it from the tree but I don't know how stable that would be: the birdhouse that I bought does not have any add-ons to ease its attachment to the tree.

enter image description here

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    use a stainless eyelet screw. both your linked articles conclude that it's not likely to cause considerable harm. A loose rope loop on a branch lets you hang it. You can hang a weight on a rope under the birdhouse to stabilize it if needed.
    – dandavis
    Jun 27, 2020 at 22:58
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    Nailing into the tree /rope around the tree might harm the tree..... Where are you reading this? A tree huggers website? I don't see how tieing a rope around a tree will hurt it, have you ever seen tree roots lift up a cement sidewalk? Nothing stops it. Screws/nails have been used for MANY years to secure tree houses, I think you will be fine with 2 or so nails.... The tree will continue to grow.
    – Gunner
    Jun 27, 2020 at 23:34
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    @Gunner I love huggin me some tree's. Some may think it is sappy but not if you take precautions. If it weren't for tree's and their cousins the human virus would not be able to thrive as it does on this rock in space. ( no trees were harmed in the formulation of this retort ) More then likely The trees will continue to grow long after humans are gone.
    – Alaska Man
    Jun 28, 2020 at 1:40
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    I’m voting to close this question because it's about arboriculture, not home improvement.
    – isherwood
    Jan 8 at 14:11

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I work in a lumber mill, where we see all kinds of things in trees. Wire and rope do affect the tree. The best thing would be to use an eye bolt/screw.

Drill a pilot hole for the screw and screw it in. This will affect the cambric layer the least. The wood inside is not the active living part of the tree--that is the outside layer. Putting wire or straps around can affect the sap movement and thus the health of the tree but drilling a small hole will not affect it much at all.

Our bird houses are very similar and a small lag bolt at top and bottom ~2-1/2 long hold our houses to trees and posts of our riding arena, our birds come back every year and really help with the flies.

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One way is to place 2*1 around the branch or trunk then secure those with 2” webbing straps. Seen this used on trees where those climbing or aerial runways are used.

Works for platforms, securing cables etc so should hold a bird cage.

Not 2*1 but shows exactly what I explained: enter image description here

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    a strong strap can girdle the tree. a weak strap can abrade the bark and allow infestation or capillary damage.
    – dandavis
    Jun 27, 2020 at 23:00
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    @dandavis the strap is not in contact with the bark... the strap is only used to hold the number of 2*1 in place... which provide the anchorage for mounting whatever. I will find an image so more understand.
    – Solar Mike
    Jun 27, 2020 at 23:09
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We are in North Georgia and have not seen any damage to the tree by planting a nail.

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Since you are not going to fell the tree for lumber, a bolt or a nail is not going to make much difference to a tree. I have put little toeholds for the kids when they were young, so that they could climb trees in our 10 acre section. All trees were perfectly fine.

Tying anything such as a rope tightly is not advisable. As the tree grows, it expands and will either choke on it or subsume it inside it. I had put bird netting around young pine trees, to keep a native bird off it. And forgot it. A decade later as I was thinning them (felling unwanted ones), my chainsaw chain was sparking as the netting had been subsumed by the tree. All trees were doing well, despite it.

The best solution, to avoid any possibility of harm is tie a very very loose knot on a horizontal branch or tie the knot to the rope itself (rather than against the tree) and suspend the tree house. Birds nest in trees, movement is not going to worry them too much.

Or, plant a treated post (something wider than a 2"X3") in the ground and nail the bird house to it. I have many of these in our new yard, where the trees are not yet large.

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