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How do you attach wire and fixtures to living surfaces?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Tomwilllight, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. Tomwilllight

    Tomwilllight LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 284

    I'd like to draw on the deep experience with lighting in the landscape that exists in this chat room. I'm working on a presentation about "Wire and Fixture Attachment to Living Surfaces" and I need some help.

    Call this a survey of the industry.

    When you mount a light in a tree for moonlighting, you have to attach wires and lights to trees. How do you do it?

    I'm sure there are many installers out there who have thought through this problem and have worked out excellent solutions that are better/easier/less expensive than mine.

    Thanks to all; I really appreciate your help,

  2. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,806

    Tom, I use stainless steel stand off bolts to attach the fixture to the tree. For the wire, I attach it using the black zip-ties that have a screw hole in them. Also with stainless screws, of course.
  3. Tomwilllight

    Tomwilllight LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 284

    Thanks Chris!!!
  4. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    simialr to Chris J. I use the black zip ties except on paper white birches, and then use the white. stainless screws for the base of light, and back it out and reset during rebulbing if necessary. The trees I put lights in 10-15 years ago still work, and the trees are still alive, but that was back before I knew better. the screws were galvanized or zinc, I used staples to follow the wire down. some trees will grow around the wire and base for the light without yearly maintenance. I still have stainless staples on my truck, but use them under decks or on trees only in a tight spot where a zip won't work.
  5. NightLightingFX

    NightLightingFX LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    I may not always use a Unique fixture, But I always use Uniques' tree mount. It comes with the stainless steel hangar bolts. I do the same thing Chris does.
  6. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    Started with the cast 3 point tree mount thats stainless stand offs. Moved to the unique which is 2 point. Gambino uses a single point mount which makes some sense in that the growth of the tree will not splay or be hindered by the mount in any way.

    Same as Chris. I use either the 1 hole zip ties or the plastic ideal clamps and stainless screws. I think its VERY important to note if you use the zip ties.. DO NOT CINCH EM DOWN tight and leave enough room for the wire to pull with tree growth. Also I do not run the screws down all the way either. I leave some room for the tree to grow without growing around my wire or attachment.

    Dont forget proper drip loops and a loosely tied bundle of slack at the top along with some slack buried at the base.

    Alot of times I am forced to mount in fast growing pines
  7. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,806

    I still provide a loop at the base of the tree, but I've heard on a couple of occasions that a tree grows from the top and it doesn't take your fixture higher. Haven't ever tested the theory though. :confused:
  8. Mark B

    Mark B LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,019

    So here is the stupid question for the weekend. Are you rapping a zip tie around the tree? Also are you using a stainless screw that has a hole on the end of it, so you can use a short zip tie?
  9. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,806

    No wrapping around the tree. The zip tie loops around the wire, then the screw holds the zip tie to the tree. You don't screw it all the way down either. Leave it backed out a bit, and back it out some more, as needed, during service visits. Otherwise, the tree will grow around the fastner. Same thing applies to the fixture mount, thus the reason for stand off bolts. The short zip ties would be fine I think, but I use the 8" and cut off the excess just because they are fatter.
  10. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    i think sleepy is missing something here. They make zip ties that have a small eye hole up near the buckle so you can zip it around something like a wire then have an eye ring to place a screw

    Look at lowes or home depot they should have bags of them in white and black.

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