The Q&A Archives: Leaving Christmas Lights On Tree

Question: Every year I put Christmas lights on a dogwood in my front yard. I was wondering if it would hurt the tree if I didn't remove the lights. It's a bit time consuming to decorate every year, but I don't want to affect its growth. I used coated wire to attach the lights up and down each branch. The tree is not fully grown - it's approximately 10 feet tall at this point.

Answer: There are several considerations about leaving lights in a tree year round. One is that the tree will grow and the wiring may constrict the bark and cause the tree problems. Another is that some localities have restrictions on leaving lights out year round. A third is that the wiring and lights may deteriorate due to exposure to the sun and weather and possibly become unsafe. I would advise that you remove them or at the very least check them regularly during the season.

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