Tips To Remove Holiday Lights Without Tree Damage

Putting up your holiday décor early lets you avoid the ice and snow, but you usually don't have that choice when it comes time to take it down. Strings of lights and garlands wound around your trees and bushes can be difficult to move if snow has fallen. In addition to contacting your local tree services for guidance, the following tips can help you avoid major damage in your landscape when you decide to take down the holiday cheer.

Tip #1: Never lean a ladder against a tree

Leaning a ladder against the trunk or a large branch on a tree is dangerous for both your and the tree. Frozen wood can be more brittle, which means a branch that is sturdy when the sap is running may break off beneath the stress of the ladder. You should not even lean the ladder against the trunk, since even bark can be knocked off more easily when it is frozen. Instead, use a free-standing A-frame ladder so you don't have to balance it against the tree as you take down the decorations. Also, make sure someone on the ground is there to support the ladder for you.

Tip #2: Don't fight against a freeze

In some cases, light strands can become frozen to branches or conifer needles. Trying to pry them off can break the brittle wood, causing long-term damage to your tree. Sometimes homeowners are tempted to use heat, such as a blow dryer, to try to loosen light strands. Don't do this! Not only is it dangerous to heat up an electrical item, heating a tree can cause damage. The heat can cause sap to flow in the targeted area. Once you are done, the sap refreezes and can burst the bark apart. This injury can lead to the loss of a tree.

Tip #3: Secure loose ends

If the ice and snow is simply too much, postpone the removal of the lights until the weather warms above freezing. Simply unplug them and leave the strands in the tree. You will want to take a moment to secure the loose unplugged end of the strand, though, so it doesn't whip against the tree on windy winter days. You can wind it loosely around the trunk then secure it in place with a loosely tied strip of cord or fabric. If you are concerned about moisture on the plug, wrap a plastic bag around it and secure it with a rubber band.

For more help, contact a tree service in your area.