How to Put Floodlights in Your Trees
Floodlights in trees can provide light for security, landscape enhancement, or safety to illuminate a walkway. The light may be triggered to come on by motion within a few feet of the light, when the sun has set and will subsequently turn off when the sun rises, or a timer may be used to control the exact timeframe when the light will function. Choose LED (light emitting diode) lights, which last longer and provide better light than incandescent lights, and use less energy than compact fluorescent lights according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Evaluate the anticipated light location at night. Climb a ladder and hold a bright flashlight or treble light in front of the tree 10 to 15 feet above ground level to visualize the impact of the light. The objective is to determine the best location for the floodlight on the tree. Optimally, the light should be about 2 feet from downward angled branches and pointed away from windows, especially those of neighbors. The selected location on the tree for the floodlight can be marked with spray paint if desired.
Cut a section from a 1- to 2-inch-thick, pressure-treated board two times as tall as the base of the floodlight. The board, like that used for building a deck, should be at least wide enough to secure the base of the floodlight. Secure the assembled floodlight with attached power cord to the pressure-treated board using the screws that came with the light.
Attach the board and light to the tree using 2 1/4 inch galvanized screws. Two screws, one at center top and bottom, should be sufficient.
Dangle the power cord down the tree and across the ground to the location of the electrician-installed external power outlet. Connect the power cord to the transformer, if applicable. Plug in the light and check the location of the light beam, preferably at night. Make any adjustments to the location of the light if needed while the power cord is unplugged.
Slip a U-shaped plastic clip over the power cord immediately below the mounting board to secure the power cord to the tree. Secure additional U-shaped clips over the power cord at about 3-foot intervals to just above ground level. The clips will prevent the power cord from moving with the wind.
Dig a narrow trench at least 6 inches deep to bury the power cord once the location of the light is finalized. Force the flat-nosed shovel into the ground to create a slit, tuck the power cord into the slit, and then tamp the soil down using your foot.
Before you dig, contact local utilities to have the ground area evaluated for the presence of buried utilities. For safety, someone should hold the ladder for the climber.
Strapping the floodlight to the tree is an option. However, as the tree grows, the bark will also expand and lap over the strap, leading to possible water or insect penetration.
- Before you dig, contact local utilities to have the ground area evaluated for the presence of buried utilities.
- For safety, someone should hold the ladder for the climber.
- Strapping the floodlight to the tree is an option. However, as the tree grows, the bark will also expand and lap over the strap, leading to possible water or insect penetration.
- Pressure treated board
- Lighting kit
- Galvanized screws
- Plastic wire clips
- Flat-nosed shovel