More than ever, local homeowners are going BIG on decorations for the yard as the pandemic strands many families at home this holiday season. But many don’t realize sparkling lights and giant ornaments can damage trees, and kill your yard, costing you thousands of dollars!

You may not know it, but your holiday decorating could be killing your yard and trees.

Stringing lights and hanging ornaments on trees could cause damage and the greenery to dry out. In serious cases, it could lead to homeowners paying for tree removal.

The average cost of removing a 40-foot tree is $1,000, according to Monster Tree Service.

To avoid that scenario, Monster Tree Service offered these tips for how to safely decorate trees, while keeping them healthy and alive.


• Screw or nail any decoration into a tree. It wounds the tree and exposes the extremely delicate cambium (the part of the tree responsible for growth) to bacteria, viruses, bugs and fungi.

• Hang lights on sensitive trees. Lights on trees that lose leaves annually, particularly flowering trees, cause a miscue that it’s not yet winter because it’s bright out. That causes these trees to hang onto their leaves longer, shed them too late, risking cold weather damage.

• Tie ropes and wires around tree trunks. This can cause major damage as they grow. Trees grow quickly and ropes that are too tight can cause strangulation of the tree.

• Use old lights. Using old lights is dangerous because they could burn the tree or even cause a fire. Inspect the lights yearly to make sure they’re working properly without overheating. Always use outdoor lights for outdoor projects.

• String lights too loosely. Loose lights on trees can make them susceptible to wind and rainstorms. They will blow around and could cause damage to bark or thin branches.

• Hang heavy ornaments and bulbs on thin branches. Heavy ornaments can break branches. You might think a branch is strong enough to hold a heavy bulb, but it may not be. Too many broken branches can harm the tree and its appearance.


• Buy LED Lights. Most LED lights do not emit light in the red or infrared spectrum that can impact tree dormancy. They are also 75% more energy efficient and they last longer.

• Try straps instead of ropes and wire. Use straps to hang festive signs and large ornaments on the tree. Flat nylon webbing works great because it won’t dig into the tree’s bark or branches.

• Keep tree decorations to a minimal. Trees can be beautiful with some simple lights. Consider if hanging heavy ornaments or decorations is worth the risk.

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