My stands/platforms stay up all winter. There plans were drawn up by a wood pattern maker (my uncle) and constructed with treated lumber and galvanized nuts, washers and bolts. I bring in the front sides of the box stands because the critters chew the plywood up. I check the stands each fall and repair/replace anything that is needed. If you do not loosen the straps around the tree, you will girdle it and it will die. I know, I learned the hard way...killed two nice trees on my farm. I'm sorry.