17 Jul Safely attaching fixtures and cable to trees
by Mike Gambino
First we need to know how trees grow. Contrary to popular belief, if a fixture is placed at a 20 ft level in the tree, it will remain at that 20 ft. level forever unless someone physically moves it.
Fixtures attached to the tree do not move with the growth of the tree.
Trees as they grow widen in girth (width of trunk and branches) and from their tips.
Now that we understand how trees grow we will discuss what to do and what not to do when attaching cable to trees.
Use stainless steel hardware– This is what professional arborists and tree care specialists use when cabling or supporting a tree as it is harmless to the tree and will not rust or deteriorate. Hardware with threads are best as it won’t be pushed out of the tree with growth.
Mounting hardware should be attached in such a way to allow cable to move away from tree as it grows.
Install cable so it is never directly resting on the surface of the trunk or branches with no chance of movement.
It’s not a bad idea to leave a small loop of slack wire buried at base of tree to allow for adjustments as the tree grows.
Use the minimum amount of mounting hardware possible to effectively attach equipment to the tree and make it easy to adjust later as needed.
Never wrap cable or wire around the tree. As it grows it will damage cambium layer of tree which could result in decline or death of tree and damage to cable. If the growth of tree doesn’t break the cable the tree will grow over the cable and become embedded (see below).
Never nail or screw brass or copper hardware into trunk or branches as it is poisonous to the tree.
Never use staples or other mounts that press the cable directly against the trunk or branches. As tree grows it will grow over the cable literally embedding it into the tree (see below).
The practice of Leaving a large coil of wire buried at the base of the tree is not necessary and is a waste of resources.
Vigorously growing and immature species should be checked every 6 months or sooner depending upon species.
Mounts need to be loosened and adjusted on a normally scheduled basis along with service of lighting system.
What can happen with improper mounting or a lack of maintenance
This landscape lighting blog is published by Mike Gambino of Gambino landscape lighting inc. all rights reserved. Mike is a professional landscape lighting system designer/ builder and has been designing, installing and maintaining landscape lighting systems for more than 20 years. Mike resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 2 sons. To visit his website go to www.gambinolighting.com . To inquire about hiring Mike please click here .
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