After we recycle our Christmas trees and stow away our stockings, one decoration always seems to linger: outdoor Christmas lights.

Maybe you love the look of a lit yard, or you simply don’t want to undo all the work you put into your outdoor décor.

So, is it OK to keep outdoor lights up year round? Keep reading to learn more about what kind of lights, and what type of trees, can safely take on a year’s worth of glow.

Can You Use Outdoor Tree Lights Year Round?

You’ll be happy to hear Christmas lights can stick around for the long haul—if you do these three things!

  1. Always use Christmas lights made for outdoor use. Unlike indoor lights, they’re specifically designed to withstand cold or wet elements.
  2. Opt for LED lights instead of incandescent. Incandescent lights typically can’t handle extreme weather shifts. Too much sun and rain can damage your lights. LED lights not only last longer, but they’re energy-efficient, which is perfect for yearlong use.
  3. Do not wrap or attach the lights to the tree in any way which will girdle branches. This will eventually strangle and kill the parts of branches above where they are girdled. Laying lights over top of branches can be okay, but wrapping around them, including in a spiral pattern, will eventually girdle them.

Can I Hang Lights On Any Outdoor Tree?

Pretty much, but avoid draping new or young trees! Large, established trees have the strength to hold up decorations, but newer trees need some time before they’re ready for the limelight. Stop hanging lights if you notice branches bending to the point where they might break. 

Anything Else I Should Know About Hanging Lights On An Outdoor Tree For The Long Haul?

Decorating your outdoor trees takes some planning. You have to think about the height of your tree, how many lights you need to cover it, which lights to get, how to secure the lights—the list goes on! The services of an arborist will be required in some situations to hang lights safely. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to hang Christmas lights on outdoor trees.

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