Will Hanging Outdoor Christmas Lights Damage your Trees?

man hanging christmas lights

It’s that time of year again: the festive season, when many homeowners love decorating their homes and yards for the holidays (and engaging in a little friendly neighborhood competition, maybe, in the process).

That decorating often includes snazzing up yardscape trees with dazzling Christmas or seasonal lights. But does this practice do any harm to your trees?

Christmas lights on tree outside an Atlanta area homeHanging Holiday Lights on Your Trees Safely

The good news: Properly done, rigging up your trees with some holiday pizzazz shouldn’t cause any damage. Let’s run through some basic steps for tree-conscious decorating.

Choose a healthy, well-established tree for setting up holiday lights. They aren’t a good choice for young, freshly planted, or ailing specimens. Deciduous trees are nice choices because of how visible the lights will be; if you hang lights on an evergreen—also popular, given the whole Christmas-tree look—take care to minimize foliage loss during the installation.

Use net or wrap lighting for the job. You shouldn’t need anything more than some twine, zip ties, electrical tape, plastic clips, or other low-impact stabilizers when wrapping a tree. Forget that staple gun!

Plan out your wrapping plan before starting so that you minimize the chance for potential bark damage or broken branches from messing around too much with the trunk or canopy. Calculate how much lighting you’ll need based on the tree’s height, circumference, and the spacing of your bulbs (commonly about three or so inches apart).

Don’t wrap your lights too tightly, which can damage bark. Some folks like to leave up festive lights on their trees throughout the winter, but remember to take them down before spring, when the wrapping can cause injury with a spurt of new growth.

Regularly check your trees while you’ve got the lights up to make sure everything’s secure and there aren’t signs of foliage, bark, or twig chafing or loss. Be cognizant of the weather forecast, too, and take steps to prepare for high winds, snow, or ice.

It goes without saying you should be using lights and an extension cord appropriately rated for outdoor use to lessen the risk of a fire.

It also (hopefully) goes without saying that you need to prioritize your own safety when hanging outdoor holiday lights on your trees. Use a ladder and the buddy system when gussying up larger trees. Stringing Christmas lights is, unfortunately, an all-too-common cause for serious injury this time of year.

Turn to Excel Tree Care for Arborist Assistance During the Winter Season

With an eye toward protecting your tree – and yourself – outdoor lights are a great way to decorate for the holiday. If decorating goes awry—or a winter storm does damage – and you’re dealing with broken branches, turn to Excel Tree Care for assistance throughout the North Atlanta metro area. Alongside across-the-board residential tree maintenance and inspections, we offer 24/7 emergency tree removal services.

Touch base with the Excel Tree Care team by filling out this contact form or with a phone call to (404) 964-6508. And, hey: Happy holidays from everybody here at Excel Tree Care!