Installing different lighting fixtures in or on trees is one of the most common lighting techniques, however the installation of these fixtures is done incorrectly more often than correct.
Wire Installation in Trees
When deciding to install a tree light fixture, the wire placement should be well thought out and planned prior to the actual installation. Of course, it is always our goal to "hide" the wire as best as we can, usually on the backside of the tree. However, if the subject tree is in the middle of the yard with no true backside hiding the wire becomes a bit more difficult. At Light It Right, we always install tree light wire in solid copper conduit to protect it from animals and other outside forces that may cause damage to the wire - this is not a common practice, but a step that we take to go the extra mile. This copper will age to match the bark of the tree with time, as well as protects the tree from the wire.
When actually attaching the wire to the tree many will use staples - THIS SHOULD NEVER BE DONE! Staples will damage the tree - as the tree grows the wire and staples will grow into the tree causing disfigurement, as well as leaving it susceptible to disease and even death. A trained and certified lighting technician will never use staples, they will instead either use tree straps that wrap around the tree and can grow with it, plastic hooks, or stainless steel screws with zip ties, leaving room for the tree to grow. ONLY stainless steel should be used in trees to prevent poisoning the tree.
The actual hardware and mounting method will vary depending on the fixture being used. Most all fixtures which are meant to be mounted in trees will come with the proper mounting hardware, or be available from the supplier. When mounting the fixture to the tree it is key to never wrap the tree with hard plastic or metal ties, this will cause death to the branch or area if left unattended. At Light It Right we use either Tree Straps (for Palm Trees) or stand off mounts that are specifically designed to go into trees (Oak Trees, etc.), with stainless steel screws to ensure the health and safety of the tree. The tree straps we use are specifically designed for lighting installation in Palm trees and allows the tree to easily grow. Stand off Mounts used for other trees also allow room for growth as they are installed with a small gap, which gives about 12-24 months of space between regular maintenance.
Tree Lighting is a beautiful way to highlight ones landscape. Seeing a fully illuminated canopy from up lighting, to the shadows created by this canopy when down lighting, it is no wonder tree lighting is one of the most asked for items when designing a lighting system. Nonetheless, tree lighting is tricky to get correct and install properly. When looking for tree lighting, ensure you are hiring a certified lighting professional who has the experience and know how when it comes to installing tree lighting the correct and safe way.