Tips from a Tree Professional: How to Safely Decorate Outdoor Trees

Whether you’re decorating your yard for the holidays, treating the local wildlife to a show or want to give your outdoor space a facelift, keep the health of your precious trees in mind as you choose your decor. Here are some tips from your local neighbourhood tree professionals to help you ensure a safe, fun and ridiculously good looking yard this holiday season.  

How to decorate without harming your trees

Here are some simple steps for decorating effectively while still protecting your trees from damage. If nothing else, following our guidelines will save you a costly call to the tree professionals to have your decorations, or your tree, removed due to improper installation or  damage. 


Hanging outdoor lights on trees is a popular way to decorate and brighten up your yard for any season. 

Step away from the nail gun!

Yes, nails and staples are an obvious and quick way to fasten lights to a tree, but piercing nails or staples through your tree trunk or branches can seriously damage the bark, exposing the tree to potentially harmful insects and bacteria. 

What to do instead

Fasten outdoor lights to trees using electrical tape or velcro straps. You’ll also want to avoid wrapping the lights too tightly as this can damage the bark and restrict growth.

Avoid electrical hazards

The best way to avoid electrical hazards is to ensure the lights and cords you’re using are manufactured for outdoor use. This means they’re built to handle the elements—important! Also take care not to overload your outlets as this can pose a fire hazard.

Before you commit to your outdoor lighting plan, check where the extension cords will run so you can avoid pinching them in doors or windows or being run over by heavy equipment. It’s also worth noting that cords can present tripping hazards if they are not secure or obvious.

Birdhouses and feeders

Just like with lights, avoid hanging birdhouses and feeders on trees or branches using nails or screws, which damage the bark. Instead, opt for a velcro strap or rope that is strong enough to hold the weight of the birdhouse and withstand harsh weather. 

If possible, secure the feeder to a strong branch, ensuring it is not too tight as to restrict growth. Selecting the right branch is important since hanging a birdhouse on a weak branch or too far out can cause the branch to snap if the load is too heavy.  

Use a ladder safely

When hanging decorations from trees and branches, choosing the right ladder for the job is paramount. Consider the terrain as well as your height and weight. To use a ladder safely, make sure there is a second person with you to act as a spotter and a stabilizer.

It’s great having a beautiful yard, but it’s definitely not worth getting injured or damaging your property over. Listen to the tree professionals and make safety your top priority!

Photo by kaleb tapp

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