Metal Halide Uplighting for Larger Trees

Uplighting of trees < Uplighting of trees adds drama and vertical emphasis in a garden lighting scheme. Use metal halide uplights typically with a 36° beam to penetrate up through the branch structure. 60 degree beams may be used for wider, spreading trees, and the narrow 20 degree beam angle for the tallest open-structured trees.*
Recessed uplights require a position above the water table with 300mm of shingle drainage below the fitting; use spike mount uplights in ground subject to water-logging.
Using 2 uplights < If the diameter of the canopy exceeds 10 metres, consider using 2 or more uplights for a fuller effect and select the 60 degree beam angle options in APOLLO spike mount uplight and PERSIUS/OLYMPUS recessed uplight ranges*
Illuminate the outer canopy < Where the outer canopy of a large tree is dense, uplight the trunk and centre of the branch structure with a 36 degree beam uplight and position one or more wide beam 60 degree metal halide floodlights to illuminate the outer canopy. Use metal halide uplights with the narrow 20° beam to penetrate up through the branch structure of the tallest trees and a peripheral beam to light the canopy which complements the central beam focused up the trunk & inner branches*
Lighting dense tree canopies < For spreading dense-canopied trees such as chestnut and yew, use a wide beam 60 degree spike-mount APOLLO hidden behind a landscape feature to stand back from the tree. Frontal lighting cannot generally be achieved with ground recessed units as the internal lamp adjustment is insufficient. APOLLO70 70w will light many trees up to 15 metres well, unless the foliage colour is particularly dark. Use APOLLO150 150w lights for trees over 15m in height, where the light is further than 10m from the outside of the canopy or where foliage is particularly dark in colour.*
Grazing < When the feasible position of the light is just outside the canopy or you want to "graze" up the foliage surface to emphasise texture, you need to position the uplight so that it will light the bottom of the canopy but still "stretch" the light beam up towards the top. This is a matter of experimentation before final installation: some slack in the cabling and choice of mounting position or type will allow for moving the light as the tree grows is a good idea.*

Suggestions shown are subject to the tree having an open structure to allow the light beam to travel upwards; look up through the tree you propose to light - if you can see up through the branches, then light will be able to penetrate the canopy and structure as well. Lighting large trees is something of a black art: if in doubt, test the position and focus of uplights with a temporary wiring set-up before final installation. Metal halide lighting is energy efficient and uses controlled beams to focus light onto a subject rather than scattering it into the night sky as is the case with cheap halogen floodlights.

Copyright 2014; Information based on products supplied by Lighting for Gardens Limited and is advisory only. The company accepts no responsibility for incorrect use or application of information given. Light fittings can become hot in use; exercise appropriate precautions. Exterior electrical installations should be undertaken by a qualified electrician.