Ropes of LED lights wound around the trunks of young trees

(Question)

Hi There,

I am writing from Toronto. I’ve become more sensitive lately to the trees that grace our public spaces. I’ve noticed many places where newly planted young trees with a fairly small diameter (3-6 inches) have been strung with those ubiquitous ropes of LED lights, which are left on them all year long.

I know that LEDs emit no heat, but I am wondering what effect, if any, this wrapping of the trunk might have on the ability of the trees to put down growth rings. I have learned that if all other growing conditions are adequate, some trees have been known to incorporate these ropes of lights into their trunk growth !!!!!

There seems to be a wide variety of methods, old and new, for anchoring these purely decorative “trees-as-objects” into their growing medium.

I am very, very concerned about this, since hearing that newly planted trees in Toronto are routinely replaced after only 5 years, and on my tax dollar. This is both wasteful and environmentally irresponsible.

Thanks very much for your consideration of my question.

 

(Answer)

You are correct that anything wrapped on the trunk and branches of a tree could become harmful to the growth of the tree if it becomes too tight as the tree grows. Lights should be wrapped loosely and checked as the tree grows. Trees are so valuable to us all, especially in the city! The City ofToronto: Urban Forestry Services offers some instructions on how to light up trees and suggests the lights be removed during the growing season.