My wife would like to be able to string Christmas lights on the small
crabapple tree in the front yard. It's about 20' from the corner of
the house in the lawn.
Is this something I could reasonably do myself or should I hire it
done? We live in the SF bay area so the line shouldn't have to be
buried that deep.
Nope, most forgieners are used to getting electrocuted. What a
dipshit, of course they can get hurt. All that aside, anyone that has
to ask how to wire a set of xmas lights to a tree, and then wonder if
hitting said string with a lawnmower is dangerous, is either a troll
or a total dumbass. Which are you?
It should be on a GFCI, which would make it pretty harmless, but even if it
wasn't and the mower somehow managed to cut it, it would probably either
short the breaker or simply leave a sheared off cable that would be
difficult to contact.
The odds of it putting any current through the operator is darn close to
Yeh, he probably is a troll as it would not be easy to miss an orange
extension cord in green grass; but I don't think running a lawn mower over
it is particularly dangerous.
This threat is hysterical !!!!
I have accidentally gone over my garden hose in the summer with my
mower and never chopped it up yet. Not that I recommend it, but they
get grown into the grass and being green they get missed.
As far as cutting thru a cord connected to a GFI, I had a pony chew
thru ALL the conductors on an extension cord and chew it right in
half. It was hooked to a GFI. The pony was not hurt, unless you
consider it's "feelings" when I started yelling at the stupid thing.
Ruined a nice 14-3 100 foot cord. I was pissed.
You guys are all ripping on the OP, but this is exactly the kind of
situation that ends up in a giant lawsuit against him, the company that
makes the lawn mower, and the manufacturer of the extension cord.
C'mon, we've heard of crazier lawsuits that this.
GFI or not, I'd unplug the thing during the day so this situation
You're still mowing the lawn!
Mow it before the lights go up, and don't mow it until they are down.
Or, if you think the lawnmower guy will hit it, start from the
receptacle, stick a pole in the ground and 7 or 8 feet above it, and
run the extension cord to a place on the tree 7 or 8 feet up. Taller
than the gardener even after it sags.
Or if no pole, run some twine from the top of a window, or down from
the second floor window, or from the place where the downspout bends
or is attached to the wall, and tie the cord with it so the cord is 8
I got this idea by looking at telephone poles.
Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let
me know if you have posted also.
Not if you use a GFI, and if the guy is that stupid, I suggest getting
someone else. You could also buy orange street cones to put over it,
or cover it with a board, but it's probably better to replace the
idiot that does the mowing, or at least have his eyes checked by a
If you are really that concerned, buy 20 feet of 1.5" steel conduit
and run the cord thru it. If the idiot mows over that, he deserves to
As it is a once a year thing, use an extension cord from outlet in
house. Or install a weather proof outlet box out side on the house
near th tree and run extension from that.
No big deal if your half a handyman. I would not bury a perament
For simply seasonal holiday lighting it's rather expensive and/or a lot of
It's probably just direct-burial wire. You could probably just run another
line off it but it'd be switched on that same circuit. Which, for xmas
lighting, is probably not what you'd want (the xmas lights stay on, the post
doesn't). Otherwise you've got to run a fresh line from the house. Getting
into the house is the hard part, whacking a new hole through the foundation,
connecting to the electrical panel, etc, and all that before running the
How far and what type of wire has to be buried depends on local codes. Some
areas require it to be deeper than others. I'm sure California has
regulated this in some ludicrous fashion well beyond other states, but check
with your local municipal building inspector department.
So ask yourself, all this just for xmas lights? Is using an extension cord
and TALKING with whomever cuts your lawn THAT much more trouble?
Attach an outdoor timer to the GFCI Outlet and run the extension chord
from the timer, I'd assume the lights would come on at night only so
you'd have the timer set to be off during the day, therefore mowing
over the chord during the day wouldn't hurt anyone. Unless, for
whatever reason you have your grass cut at night!
It is on a timer. The entire front yard circuit is controlled by a
switch just inside the front door. I replaced the switch some time ago
with an Aube sunset/sunrise timer. But, sometimes the switch gets
bumped or whatever and could be on during the day. I was just trying
to be careful.
I talked to an electrician. He suggested I get an outdoor GFI
extension cord and another heavy-duty outdoor extension cord to go
across the lawn. That seems like a good solution.
I wonder why none of the neanderthals with the caustic remarks thought
of that? I guess they are only good at pissing on things.
if this outlet is for year round use and you own the property [on your
property survey] where the tree grows, call a licensed electrician to
install a pair of GFI circuits to your tree, one for a photo eye
operated circuit for lights and the other for a constant circuit for
the lawnmower or leafblower. or snowblower.
Anything is possible, it depends on how talented you are.
Running a single 20 amp GFCI protected circuit in UF cable 12 inches
deep is permitted in the NEC, otherwise it is 24".
You'll want to run the cable over to a piece of rigid conduit, which the
outlet box mounts on, so that it is supported. The box should be 8
inches above ground, and the pipe buried 18" deep, with the wire 24
inches deep. You need to seal the end of the pipe where the UF wire
comes in under the ground.
I'd suggest mounting a floodlight socket on top of the box, and shoot
the light up into the canopy of the tree. You get a wonderful lighting
effect, without much wiring. By having an outlet box, your covered for
strings of Christmas lights.
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