This Project began with a completely different idea about creating a map for a camellia garden. However, after realizing that project did not involve enough research, I decided to switch to something that is a little more close to home. I chose to do a project involving hammocks and how they harm trees across campus.
How hammocks damage trees:
A common way that hammocks damage trees is through them scrapping bark off of their trunks and causing them to be more susceptible to diseases. If hammocks are left for long periods of time, the straps can cause girdling (below) which leaves rope scars on the tree and can even cause the area above the
girdling to die.
Wrapping hammock straps around trees that are too young can also be damaging for trees. Apparently there is a joke in the hammock community that you should hang your hammock on trees that won't hurt you if they actually fall while you are hanging, but this is very damaging joke and should not be taken seriously. Only certain types of trees that are more mature should be used and at a reasonable distance apart (12-15").
Trees on Campus:
Included above are pictures of trees that have been harmed by hammocks. The first two show a tree with strange lines in the bark that I believe are caused by frequent hammock use. The third picture shows a tree with a large bald spot where bark has been removed. Both of these trees are at a common hammock spot across the road from Pace Hall. The fourth picture shows a tree just out front of the art building where a small branch was snapped. I accidentally caused this to happen with my own hammock, and wanted to look into ways that we can prevent this from happening to more trees.
What we can do to prevent damage to trees:
After discovering all the ways that trees can be damaged through hammock use, I decided to look up rules on how to prevent this from happening. Below is a list of those rules:
- Only use trees that are well matured, around 8" in diameter, and that around 12-15' apart.
- Some trees are better to use than others. Oak, palm, maple, and beech trees are all ones that are much stronger and can withstand hammock straps better. Avoid trees with loose bark in order to prevent bark being stripped off.
- Do not hang your tree with ropes. They can cause excess friction which hurts tree bark. Instead, use 1" or wider straps. Luckily, many hammock come with straps like these now.
- Only hang your hammock from the trunk of a tree, not from the branches, no matter how strong the tree branches may look.
- Make sure you have your hammock level so you can avoid causing excess stress from weight on either tree.
- If you only have ropes available to use for your hammock, wrap them in materials that can prevent friction around the tree. A common example of this online would be cutting open a rubber garden hose and wrapping it around the rope, but there are many options.
With all of this research in mind, I decided to make some satirical instructional guides with these rules listed. I was inspired by funny IKEA guides that you see online. Below are my 3 final guides along with the artboard in Illustrator showing my inspirations.