Pro Tips for Wrapping Trees With Lights

Get that professional installation look every time

Published on
October 3, 2023 at 2:09:07 PM PDT October 3, 2023 at 2:09:07 PM PDTrd, October 3, 2023 at 2:09:07 PM PDT

Intro

Adding decorative lighting to trees is a proven way to make a bold statement and enhance the ambiance of any outdoor decorative lighting installation. Whether you're preparing for a special occasion or event, a holiday or simply beautifying your landscape, properly wrapping trees with decorative lighting requires attention to detail, adherence to best practices and the right light strings and lighting products. In this guide, we will outline expert techniques and specialized product considerations to ensure a stunning, high-performing, and safe exterior lighting display. 


Planning and Preparation for Tree-Wrap Installs  

Before diving into the installation process, thorough planning and preparation are crucial.  

 

Evaluate Tree Selection:

Choose trees that have an appealing shape and structure, as they will serve as the focal points of your lighting display. Ensure that the trees are healthy, sturdy, and have branches that can support the weight of the lighting. 


Determine Lighting Design:

Define the desired lighting effect and style. Consider factors such as color, brightness, and overall theme to create a cohesive and visually pleasing display. Don’t be afraid to mix basic light strings with more novelty and specialty light strings. When mixing strings, it’s best to match bulb colors to keep the design cohesive and flowing.  


Measure and Calculate:

Measure the height and circumference of the trees to estimate the amount of lighting product, power and infrastructure needed. Typically, you can count on about 100 lights per vertical foot of the tree. Once you've identified the trees you're wrapping, measure the tree's circumference, decide your spacing and installation height and then calculate dividing the spacing into the height and then multiply by the diameter. Then multiply that by about 1.25 to assure you have a bit extra. But every situation varies and this is a general rule of thumb. It’s best to have extra strings on hand not only for adequate coverage but also to cover future string maintenance or replacement.  


Purchasing The Right Products 

 

Tree-Wrapping Products That Save Money & Time 

 

While many installers select standard light strings that cover a wide number of uses, professional installers know that choosing the right product can be the difference between a profitable installation and an unprofitable one that requires reservice trips. While specialty products may seem a bit higher priced than a standard 50L or 70L 5mm or 7mm light string, they can save money and time by preventing string failure, breakage and GFCI tripping. Troubleshooting string and bulb failure is time-consuming and having to do so leaves a bad impression with owners.

Special application lighting products more than pay for themselves by offering the following features: 

Stretchable strings expand trunk coverage allowing your strand to extend further. 

Tree protection is critical so that the strings don’t damage bark, which is essential to the health of the tree, protecting it from insect infestation, which is important to owners. 



Wire Protection is also important as the tree grows and expands. Light strings won’t break if they can expand. Palm trees grow more quickly than most trees and often expand, breaking the string or damaging the palm tree. 

Longer warranties and season-to-season use means they can stay installed much longer than standard light strings. This is ideal when you want the strings to be more of a permanent installation, sometimes even performing beyond the typical warranty season. 


 

Recommended Products for Tree Wrapping 


Alternate Spacing Light Strings

or strings that alternate the spacing of bulbs on the light string (ex: 6”-8” spaced bulbs v. a 6” spaced bulbs) can not only save money while supplying the same coverage, but they can also create a completely different look, one that’s less linear and more of a random-pattern look.  

 

 


Everlastrings 

These multi-patented strings are the most rugged on the market, designed specifically for trees and are durable enough to carry a 2 year warranty. This expandable string literally hugs the tree eliminating the need to staple light strings to the tree which compromises the wire and damages the tree. The elasticity of the string makes tree-wrapping easy. Longer string runs make for faster installation. The longevity of Everlastrings allows professionals to allocate future budgets to enhancing and adding more magic to the installation rather than replacing strings that were designed for seasonal use only. Installers love the beefed-up wires and LEDs allowing these strings to stay in place longer with fewer issues.  


 

NXG ® LED strings 

Tree wrapping is a major time investment, so it makes sense to use a product that prevents the issues that cause string failure and GFCI tripping. There is no better LED light string on the market than strings equipped with NXG technology. NXG broke the mold of traditional light strings with its multi-patented, innovative epoxy-filled husk design, which reduces water ingress. Assembled by machine and not by hand, like traditional molded husks, epoxy-filled husks afford greater quality assurance and consistency where the seal is concerned, further reducing the probability of GFCI tripping. Additionally, NXG’s advanced-grade LED chip keeps lighting installations looking brighter and better for longer.  


Making Sure Your Install Is Safe  

Safety should always be a top priority when working with exterior lighting installations.  

Here are some recommendations for creating safer lighting displays:  

 

Electrical Considerations

Use outdoor-rated extension cords and ensure that all connections are secure and protected from moisture. If necessary, consult an electrician to install dedicated outdoor outlets for your lighting setup. If you are setting up landscape lights for residential use and already have a landscape power supply system installed, consider a decorative holiday lighting system that plugs directly into landscape power supply. 

 

Avoid Circuit Overload

Distribute the load of your lighting display across multiple circuits to prevent overloading and potential fire hazards. Calculate the electrical requirements and make sure not to exceed the recommended wattage for each circuit. 

Inspect Lights and Cords: Before installation, inspect all lights and cords for any signs of damage, such as frayed wires or broken bulbs. Replace any defective components to maintain safety and best functionality. 


Use Low voltage Coupling

Products that use coupling as opposed to standard 120V plugs create tighter connections when daisy-chaining light strings end-to-end resulting in less water ingress and thus, greater string performance and reduced installation failures and maintenance. 



Tree Wrapping Installation Techniques 

Now that you've completed the planning phase and prioritized safety, it's time to delve into the installation process itself: 

 

Start at the Base

Begin by placing the power source and control mechanism (e.g., timers) near the base of the tree. Doing so, will allow for easier access and minimize the risk of damaging the lights during installation. 


Wrapping Technique

Starting from the bottom, gently and evenly wrap the lights around the trunk, working your way up to the higher branches. Ensure the lights are snugly secured, but not overly tight, to avoid damage to the tree and to maintain flexibility for growth.  


Branch Illumination

When wrapping the lights around the branches, use a weaving technique. Begin at the trunk and move outward, carefully spacing the lights along each branch. This method will highlight the tree's structure and create a captivating effect. 


Avoiding Excessive Tension

Take care not to pull the lights too tightly, as this can cause stress on both the lights and the tree branches. Allow room for the branches to move naturally, especially during wind or snow events. 

 

Pro Tips That Make the Difference 

Consider these expert tips to further enhance your tree lighting display: 

 

Test the Lighting Design

Before completing the installation, plug in the lights to ensure the desired effect is achieved. Adjust as necessary to balance brightness, color distribution, and overall visual appeal. 


Incorporate Variations in Light Sizes

For a captivating visual effect, mix various light sizes, such as mini lights, larger bulbs, or even specialty lights like meteor showers or supernovas to the upper brances to create a visually stunning effect. This diversity adds depth and visual interest to the overall display. 


Highlight Unique Tree Features

Emphasize distinctive features of the tree, such as interesting branches or unique trunk patterns, by wrapping additional lights or using accent lighting techniques. 


Maintenance and Removal

Regularly inspect the lights throughout the season to address any issues promptly. After the season ends, carefully remove the lights to avoid damaging the tree or the lights themselves. Store them properly to prolong their lifespan. 

 

 

By following these expert guidelines for wrapping trees with decorative lights, you can transform any outdoor space into a stunning scene. Remember to prioritize safety, plan meticulously, and implement the proper installation techniques to achieve the best possible results. With attention to detail and a creative touch, and an eye for pattern, your illuminated trees will become the centerpiece of your exterior lighting display, delighting guests and enhancing the beauty of your surroundings.