Climbing a tree is synonymous with long summer days and hanging out with friends. You feel like you’re one with nature, you can increase your self control, you can build your gross motor skills, and create critical thinking skills (because where you put your foot or hand next may not be the greatest choice you ever made) and it also gives kids and adults alike a sense of accomplishment. If the tree is especially tall or shaped in a way that makes it hard to climb that sense of accomplishment will be well deserved, but even just climbing a tree to sit in the branches and escape the world for a bit is something a lot of people like to do. So how do you pick the right tree to climb?
Of course you can’t go climbing just any tree. You have to make sure that the trunk is thick and the tree itself is sturdy. It helps as well if that first limb is no more than two feet off of the ground as it gives you something to start with that is an easy first step. Other than that, limbs spaced between twelve and twenty four inches apart up through the trunk makes for a great climber! Some trees that are great to climb include some varieties of maple trees and most varieties of oak, elm and mulberry.
The weeping willow is a beautiful tree that grows between fifty and seventy feet tall and we usually see them near rivers, creeks or marshes, really anywhere there is a nearby water supply. If you are looking to climb trees to then swing out over water or use the sturdy limbs as a diving board or jump off point then the weeping willow is for you! They need a lot of space to grow but they reward you with strong horizontal limbs to easily climb and their canopy is an enveloping mass of green leaves which give plenty of shade and great places to hide all in one.
Alternatively, the Anne E variety of the Crab Apple tree not only looks pretty in the spring when it flowers and the fall when bright red leaves appear, but it also has low branches that make it a perfect choice for climbing.
Whatever tree you choose to climb make sure you have the proper footwear and that you don’t go higher than where you feel comfortable. Above all, have fun!