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Knots for tree-tenders; to pull branches into line, to straighten trunks ... they're easy to tie or untie.

No more difficult to learn than tying your shoe, three knots (show below and on page 162) will make it much easier for you to tend your trees. The knots can help pull errant branches into line, or straighten trunks bent by snow. You'll also find them useful for lashing down large items that you might load into the back of a truck. These knots are also easy to untie, even after being cinched tight in all kinds of weather.

The knots

The bowline (pronounced bow-len) is the most important knot because it can fasten one end of the rope to a tree without constricting the bark. (Constriction is deadly: it strangles branches.) Tie the bowline according to the photographs at left. Start with a rope that's three times as long as the space to be spanned.

The other two knots secure the opposite end of the rope and provide an easy, built-in way for you to increase or decrease tension on the line.

The second of our three knots (shown at the top of page 162) is nothing more than a slipknot with an extra twist; the twist keeps the knot from cinching up too tightly when it's under tension. The loop in the knot also serves as a pulley when you're ready to tighten the rope.

The final knot is really just a combination of two half-hitches that hold tension on the rope.

How the pulley works

After you've tied one end of the rope to the tree with a bowline and put a slipknot halfway between the tree and stake, run the rope around the stake and back through the slipknot. Now pull down, away from the tree: the slipknot and the stake create a block and tackle, making it easier for you to put tension on the line and adjust it if the rope stretches.

When the tension is right, secure the rope by making two half-hitches: one just below the loop of the slipknot, one right on top of it.

A word about rope

Among the many kinds of rope on the market are natural fibers like cotton, manila, and sisal; and synthetics like nylon, polyester, and polyethylene.

Ropes come in twisted and braided forms. Because the braided ones are smooth and flexible, they're great for knots. Twisted ones are stronger but less flexible and more inclined to "remember" the shape of their knots long after you untie them.

Of the natural fibers, braided cotton is the best one for small branches because it's so smooth, flexible, and easy to tie.

Use manila for larger branches and trees. Buy it in a thick size 1/2 or 1/8 inch is good-not because you need the extra strength, but because, with lots of tension on it, wider-diameter rope is less likely to cut into bark than narrower rope.

Of the synthetics, avoid nylon, which stretches and is damaged by sunlight. Instead, use braided polyester; it's strong, smooth, and has no memory. Braided polyethylene is an acceptable second choice, but you should avoid twisted polyethylene, which has too much memory. If you find rope that just says poly," it's polyethylene; polyester is always labeled "polyester."
COPYRIGHT 1990 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes related articles
Publication:Sunset
Date:Nov 1, 1990
Words:529
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