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Mike M
07-27-2009, 06:56 PM
Okay everyone told me about leaving slack on the bottom to compensate for tree growth, I'm also familiar with setting the screws and fixtures a few inches away from the tree. But one of my jobs was just attacked by a wire-breaking tree, as it grew in circumference.

To compensate, I'm now using a long slanted angle behind the tree instead of a nice and neat 90 degree angle which had concealed the cable. The issue is especially problematic where two wires split laterally to feed two fixtures, where the pull becomes doubled at the point where they split. I will no longer have them attached together like that, but use a long Y instead.

If anyone has a method for how they hang and position some slack into the cable up by the fixtures, that looks nice and is effective, I would appreciate it.

Pro-Scapes
07-27-2009, 08:09 PM
maintain your systems. That is the number 1 key to prevent wires from being torn up by trees.

We have prevented a number of wires from being engulfed by the tree as it increases its diameter.

Assuming your tree has something other than lawn around it I leave the base screw out. I bury the wire shallow up to the base of the tree from a couple of feet out. I know some will tell me there is no need to leave slack because a tree grows from the top the reason I leave the slack wire is so I can manipulate it during maint visits and adjust it as needed.

Still using the zip ties with an eye hole and some 1.5 inch stainless screws and not tightening them down all the way. I did have a few river birches eat the screw a bit so I will be leaving them out a bit further.

Mike M
07-27-2009, 09:28 PM
Billy,

I've been using those zip-ties, do you tighten yours up snug, or do you leave them loose? I'm thinking of going more loose, and leaving the screws out a little more. I want to know if anyone uses a reserve slack method at the fixture for future adjustments and to absorb diameter growth. I hate the idea of leaving loops and slack wire, but I'm sure there is a simple way of leaving extra wire near the fixture. Maybe on the back of the tree with a small coil or loop.

Mike M
07-28-2009, 08:08 AM
I was wondering how line voltage deal with this, and then it occurred to me, they don't. I have pictures I took at a park of 120v fixtures with cables pulled off of the trees. It wasn't an old install, I'd like to see the conduit and the junction boxes in the next few years. They only thing they have going for them is the wire is heavier and solid core.

Pro-Scapes
07-28-2009, 08:21 AM
I leave a small loop of wire in the top. Drip loop... small bundle of wire then down it goes. Zip ties are pulled around the wire tight enough to hold the wire but loose enough I can manipulate it should it need adjustment... Screws go in so a couple of threads show.

I really wish unique would get going with the 35 ft leads already on the lunars and quasars. I mounted some yesterday at 30 ft and the splice would have been at eye level so I chose to run 12ga up the tree

JoeyD
07-28-2009, 10:07 AM
35ft leads can be ordered custom. I will propose us making a change to go 35ft as a standard.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
07-29-2009, 02:24 AM
Nothing does a better job of wiring a tree than the Arrow T59 Stapler. Just don't use it on young saplings, or hyper-fast growing species and you should be fine. Neat, clean, "Tree-safe", fast, efficient, and effective. I use the stainless steel product they make.

Pro-Scapes
07-29-2009, 09:04 AM
James exactly what type of trees are you stapling in. I seen a merc vapor guy using them too but they dont hold very well. A handful of the landscapers around here use fencing staples and hammer em in which is a HUGE no no.

Staples just would not hold up in the thick bark of our pine trees.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
07-29-2009, 11:57 PM
Billy, I have been using Arrow T59 staples in trees for about 8 years or so... thousands of lights installed with them.

The Arrow T59 is perfect for 12/2 up the trunk of White Pine, Red Pine, Maple, Oak, Beech, Cherry, Walnut, Cedar, etc. As long as the tree is mature and not a hyper fast growing species the staple sticks into the outer layer of bark and grows out along with the bark. I rarely have to re-staple a tree. The staples come with a bit of adhesive on the tips which helps them hold onto the bark. I have used them extensively in some very thick bark Oak and Pine trees with great success. Try it, at the very least you will end up with a fantastic wire attachment tool for decks, fences, etc.

Regards

Pro-Scapes
07-30-2009, 08:27 AM
I have one I use on structures occasionally but I didnt like the flimsy connection to a tree. Deer often rub trres here during the rut season as well.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
07-30-2009, 09:29 PM
I dont know about flimsy Billy... if you are doing it right they are pretty darned good, and you wont find many areas with more wild and rugged conditions than here. Deer, Moose, Bears, we get it all. The only problem I have had is with those darned wild arborists! :)

Pro-Scapes
07-30-2009, 10:23 PM
Wild arborist account for more tree light failures for us than anything combined.

Further instead of removing the fixture carefully the proceed to beat it off the trunk/limb with a hammer or ax so the can load the log. I lost 4 tree lights due to limbing of a pine tree... all the lights were found on the ground severly beaten. Client called me to reinstall and asked about the lifetime warranty :laugh::laugh:

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
07-30-2009, 10:53 PM
Been there done that! We actually have one tree-man around here who is a colleague and his guys take great care when removing the lights. But the rest... hammers, axes, whatever they have, then drop them to the rocks below.

Tomwilllight
08-03-2009, 10:43 AM
I HIGHLY recommend that no fixture or wire ever be mounted DIRECTLY on the surface of any living plant. The growth of the surface will eventually (often sooner than later) overwhelm the device by growing around it.

Trees grow by swelling in diameter and grow longer ONLY through their tips. That is not common knowledge. Even the National Electrical Code's requirements assume that trees stretch as they grow. The NEC is just wrong.

Please note the photos below. The transformer is still where it was attached, the tree is growing around it. In the second photo, you'll see how the tree can grow around a too tight attachment.

If you put a nail in a tree at 5 feet, that nail will continue to be at 5 feet for as long as that tree lives. The nail may disappear because the tree has grown around it, but that nail will NEVER be higher off the ground.

I recommend the use of Stainless Steel "hanger bolts" (essentially lags screws with machine threads on the other end) to mount j-boxes or what ever mount you choose to use. Landscape Lighting Supply in Richardson, TX makes an UL approved J-box that come with the hanger bolts included. Cast has also seen the light with their tree mounts... Talk to them to find out how to order.

It is easy to set a hanger bolt with a hanger bolt driver. The driver spins onto the machine thread end. The Lag screw end of the bolt is then screwed in to the tree, leaving the machine threads exposed. Reverse the drill and the bolt driver is off the bolt. You then your run a nut down the hanger bolt to where they want the base of the mount to be. Set the mount on the hanger bolts (you will need at least 2) and set and tighten down another nut.

I also follow a similar practice with wire. I use deck screws to secure the electrical ties that have loops in them. I leave about 1/2 to 3/4 inch of screw sticking out to allow the tie to move. That works for many trees. If your trees are a faster growing species you'll just have to adapt. Willow & River Birch are a problem here - I check them yearly to make certain these fast growing species are not in trouble.

DO NOT USE HANGER STRAPS! They promote the growth of fungus and squeeze the cambium layer closed. They KILL TREES by very slow strangulation!

See <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vascular_cambium> for a good illustration of the way trees grow.

We have been through this before - and James continues to suggest we all should use Arrow staples. He ignores the fact he's attaching wire to very slowly growing trees in climax community forests. His experience is completely different from those of us who hang our lights in younger and much faster growing specimens.

Tom

JoeyD
08-03-2009, 01:39 PM
Our Strat Bracket is supplied with standoff hanger bolts for this reason. Great post Tom!

Pro-Scapes
08-03-2009, 05:42 PM
Tom it seems like you and I attach the wires in a very similar manner. You choose to use deck screws and I just use stainless pan head screws. We NEVER tighten them down and do in fact leave them out a bit. Sorry if this was not clear.

I do it like this because during maint checkups if there is a problem we can cut the zip tie and back out the screw and resecure it with zero damage to the tree.

On the hanger bolt install. I have a deepwell socket on the end of a cordless drill. I install the first nut and use this to turn the hanger bolt in. I only install them as deep as needed to create a solid fountation. Uniques hangers are shorter and fatter... CASTS are long and skinny. I preffer the cast ones in a thick barked tree but preffer the uniques on things like river birch. I really do need to start carrying my camera more with me to photograph some of the OOOPS I come across. I dont always carry it for fear of the heat and humidity

Tomwilllight
08-03-2009, 06:54 PM
Hi Billy,

Deck screws work for me because they are stainless and come in a variety of colors in a ceramic coating. If I can knock down any brightness, I go for it. In addition, because deck screws are wood screws, they have a long shank without threads that allows the tie to "float" on the screw a bit. It's just another way to allow the tree to push the wire away.

I buy both screws and ties from HD. Easy and always in stock.

I get my hanger bolts & drivers from Professional Hardware & Supply on the web; there are others who sell the same.

It's a good thing that Cast and Unique both have come to understand the need for mounts that don't damage trees. If you ever hang any line-voltage, you may want to try Landscape Lighting Supply's tree mountable J-box. Better machining than the Greenlee T box with more room and less expensive.

We haven't had a summer yet... rain without end, but no hot weather. Are you Mississippi folks going to keep all the hot for yourselves this year?

Tom

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-04-2009, 08:04 PM
We have been through this before - and James continues to suggest we all should use Arrow staples. He ignores the fact he's attaching wire to very slowly growing trees in climax community forests. His experience is completely different from those of us who hang our lights in younger and much faster growing specimens.

Tom

Tom, yes I have had fantastic success using the Arrow T59 Staples when attaching wire to trees. No, I am not ignoring that in some immature and fast growing species that the staple technique will not be ideal. In fact, I have clearly stated several times that if you are putting lights into small, young or fast growing species then you will probably have to use another method.

In my experience, it is best to pick fully mature trees in which to mount lights. That way, you can place them high enough off the ground in order to maximize the effect.

Before you completely disregard my advice, you might wan't to try the Arrow T59 staple method. They are not like typical wire staples in any way, shape or form. I do have more than a bit of experience in this.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-04-2009, 08:10 PM
We have been through this before - and James continues to suggest we all should use Arrow staples. He ignores the fact he's attaching wire to very slowly growing trees in climax community forests. His experience is completely different from those of us who hang our lights in younger and much faster growing specimens.

Tom

Tom, yes I have had fantastic success using the Arrow T59 Staples when attaching wire to trees. No, I am not ignoring that in some immature and fast growing species that the staple technique will not be ideal. In fact, I have clearly stated several times that if you are putting lights into small, young or fast growing species then you will probably have to use another method.

In my experience, it is best to pick fully mature trees in which to mount lights. That way, you can place them high enough off the ground in order to maximize the effect.

Before you completely disregard my advice, you might wan't to try the Arrow T59 staple method. They are not like typical wire staples in any way, shape or form. I do have more than a bit of experience in this.

Pro-Scapes
08-05-2009, 09:02 AM
Man Tom I wish we could send some of this heat up to you. We worked 10 hours in it on Monday and I came home and my fingers were shaking. I was SLOW all day tuesday and only accomplished 3 hours of work then called it quits. Now I have gotten 3 calls in the last 2 days so it looks like we need to pick up the pace a bit and buckle down. Staying hydrated is our biggest problem in this heat a humidity but we got forcast for low 90's all week so if we do the 6am to 2pm shift we should be ok.

If its heat you crave please, by all means feel free to come down and enjoy it with us.

Tomwilllight
08-05-2009, 09:48 AM
James,

I got your reply with the first posting. Thank you.

I have examined and tested Arrow T59 staples and my conclusion remains the same. I believe there are much more 'tree friendly" and secure ways to attach wire to a living surface. I've detailed the method and materials I use and recommend in this and other forums.

Tom

steveparrott
08-05-2009, 10:03 AM
A couple pics.

Tomwilllight
08-05-2009, 10:03 AM
If its heat you crave please, by all means feel free to come down and enjoy it with us.

Thank you Billy for your generous offer to share the heat with me. It's really the hot and DRY I miss. We've had 17 inches in July; double the normal. It rained every other day or we'd have 2 days of rain and one clear.

I lived in Georgia until I was 32 and have been content to visit family and friends Thanksgiving and Christmas since. It's nice to get out of the cold in November and December.

Tom

emby
08-05-2009, 09:17 PM
Hey Steve,
What is that embedded in the tree?

Ken

Mike M
08-08-2009, 10:54 AM
Back to slack for moment,

I seems to me that the slack at the trunk is mostly for us, for servicing: adjusting, replacing cable/fixtures, fixing squirrel damage. Does anyone mount some slack up and behind the tree close to the fixture to allow diameter growth? I am thinking of a loop at a zip tie or in a junction box?

I agree with James about selection of mature trees as good advice when it is an option, as well as Billy's point to keep after all tree lights with annual service.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-09-2009, 10:43 PM
I form an oversize drip loop at the fixture in order to accomodate any upper level tree growth or repositioning of the fixture after some time.

steveparrott
08-10-2009, 09:15 AM
Hey Steve,
What is that embedded in the tree?

Ken

A tree light canopy!