How to Drill into a Tree without Hurting it

Drilling into a tree may seem like a simple task if you avoid its safety. But creating a hole or inserting a screw into the tree can hurt the tree and result in its death. So, learning how to drill into a tree without hurting it is vital for multiple reasons. It will not only save the tree and retain its effectiveness but also help to attach things securely.

Thus, the guide covers some crucial information to help you drill through the tree the proper way without damaging it. Reading the guide will help you choose the right tree and insert the ideal fasteners more safely.

Guides to Drill Into a Tree without Hurting It

There are lots of reasons encourage to drill a hole into three. Attaching a treehouse, direction board or improvement of the tree is among the key reasons. But some wonder what happens if you drill a hole in a tree? Drilling a hole in a tree will hurt it?

Luckily, drilling a hole into a tree won’t cause any harm, but you have to consider some points:

  • Select the right tree
  • Take the best drill bit
  • Drill a tolerable number of holes
  • Don’t apply herbicides to the trees

Maintaining this basic guideline will ensure safer drilling into trees. Let’s get details:

Select the right tree

Some special kinds of trees are most suitable for drilling through them. Pick a tree that is strong and can build up around the screw or nail without getting damaged. The best trees for drilling holes are:

Douglas fir Trees: It can be softwood, but a better choice for drilling. The fir tree is sturdy enough and can hold a few holes in it.

Maple Trees: In particular, maple three have robust taproots that greatly help fasten any structure you will put in it. More importantly, this tree can withstand wild wind and extreme weather, making it ideal for attaching large and permanent structures. The wood from the tree is also superb for scroll saws and other woodworking projects. 

Pawpaw Trees: This tree is soft hardwood and a considerable option for drilling through. The Pawpaw tree is allowed to drill easily but holds the item strongly.

Oak Trees: This tree is so durable that you can drill multiple holes and attach anything you desire. The oak tree is commonly found in North America and allows the people who live here to do drilling through tree projects. 

A tree that you should avoid: Don’t choose a tree for drilling holes that are already damaged or weak. Usually, hardware cuts the layer under the tree bark that is used to move nutrients and water throughout the tree. So, drilling a weak tree won’t continue to move nutrients to it. Plus, holes will create an entry point for the pest, which increases the stress of the weak tree. Avoid, small, young, and thin-barked trees for creating holes.

Picking the right tree determines the quality of experience drilling through it. Avoid too softwood as it won’t survive due to drilling through it. Conversely, choose a mature, and healthy tree that has a minimum of 10 inches in diameter. Walk around your area and find the most appropriate tree so you can drill through it without hurting yourself.

Find out the right spot

If you want to save a tree and continue the drilling project, locate the right spot for the tree. Understand your required height and the depth of the holes. Then choose the right location according to these things:

How to Drill into a Tree without Hurting it

The nail will remain attached: After ending your purposes, the tree will still grow to keep the nail in the same place. The tree will grow around the holes. 

The depth will change: Along with the growth of the tree, the depth will increase. If the growth happened under the bark, it would be risky to cut down.

With the change in the depth, the nail can be lost after years. So make a backup plan before starting drilling into a tree. It will help you add more nails in the future, particularly if you willing to make a permanent tree house.

Use the right type of screw

Choosing the right screw to insert into the tree can reduce the damage.

Stainless Steel: This type of screw is affordable yet durable and will offer long service. Moreover, stainless steel screws won’t cause rust and will keep the tree safe. 

Galvanized nails: This type of nail offers an extra level of protection that won’t hurt the tree and retain its nice looks.

A combination of durable and rust resistance is the most preferable option to insert into a tree. This type of screw will not only serve for a long time but also won’t do anything harmful to the tree.

Drill a tolerable number of holes

While one or two holes endurable for the tree, drilling lots of holes can cause damage to it. Don’t add as many holes as you can. Doing so can cause the tree to stress out, which can end up dying. For a better experience, you can follow a compartmentalization method.

This process helps the tree heal itself. After inserting the screw, the tree will begin healing around the area. In particular, this method keeps the tree from a possible infection that may be caused after drilling into it.

If you pick a stable and strong tree and drill a limited number of holes, it will compartmentalize and remain healthy. Conversely, drilling lots of holes into a weak tree will prevent it from healing, resulting in the death of the tree.

Don’t apply herbicides to the holes

Likewise, drilling plenty of holes and adding something like herbicide is also responsible for hurting a tree. Instead, you can drill holes or cut around the tree to create the circumference. Then you apply safer herbicides like Dicamba.

Even so, some trees can keep themselves from chemicals. After cutting or drilling a hole in spring, these trees produce heavy sap which keeps them safe and prevents them from absorbing the herbicide. If your purpose for drilling a few holes into a tree is to attach a treehouse, don’t worry about it.

FAQs on How to Drill into a Tree without Hurting it

Is it safe to hammer a nail into a tree?

Hammering a nail is possible and safe, like drilling a hole into a tree. But it will be time-consuming and hard work compared to drilling holes as it requires physical force. While using a heavy and good hammer will help complete the task, working on hardwood or tough bark will be challenging. For the tree, add herbicide or other chemicals to keep it safe while hammering the nail. 

Is Will creating a hole kill the tree?

No, but following the wrong method can predictably do it. Drilling holes may be essential to achieve some purposes. But creating lots of holes will gradually kill the tree. Conversely, choosing a small tree for drilling can also cause death due to drilling.

Is it tolerable to insert a screw into a tree?

Putting a screw into the tree will cause a little injury, which isn’t serious. A strong and healthy tree can manage it. Following the compartmentalising process, the tree will heal around the screw.

How to safely attach something to a tree?

The appropriate way to fix something to a tree is by using a strap. You can use strong cordage or fabric, but flat nylon webbing will work best. Another way is to glue or staple Velcro to the fabric to strap it to the tree without causing any damage.

Final words

Whatever the reason is for drilling a hole into a tree, don’t forget about the safety of the tree. Throughout the guide, we have discussed how to drill into a tree without hurting it. It included choosing the right tree, a reason for avoiding certain trees and using the right safety gear for the tree.

Above all, don’t unnecessarily drill lots of holes into the tree and consider the minimum number necessary to complete your project.

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Sam Morgan is a professional interior designer and part-time content writer of Drill Villa. He has done hundreds of major projects and sharing his experience with you. He is a tools lover like drill, drill press, drivers, wrench etc. He used and tested thousands of tools and knows which perform better.

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