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 Illuminating trees correctly , ,

Tree lighting

Public & Outdoor – correctly illuminating trees and palms outdoors

In landscape architecture, trees are important elements for designing spaces and enabling orientation. If properly lit they can also perform these tasks at night. Well thought-out tree lighting creates visual axes in the dark and conveys safety. Because the shape and size of the tree crown varies according to the type of tree and season of the year, choosing the right LED lighting is not always simple. We provide helpful tips for lighting design using projectors and ground-recessed luminaires, and show how you can impressively illuminate different types of trees and palms from below, above or from the side.

 Illuminating trees correctly

Find the right LED luminaire based on your features.

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Exciting project examples

Lighting trees perfectly: what you should know

 Illuminating trees correctly

Which luminaire is the right one?

Ground-recessed luminaires as well as projectors and floodlights are suitable for illuminating trees. Projectors and floodlights can be flexibly positioned with a ground stake while the luminaires remain visible. When the tree grows, the distance to the tree can be simply adapted. Ground-recessed luminaires on the other hand are inconspicuously integrated into the ground. If fitted with appropriate mounting enclosures vehicles can even roll over them. They can however become covered with leaves or snow according to the season. Since they are fixed in one place in the ground, they cannot be moved as easily as projectors with a ground stake.

 Illuminating trees correctly

Select the correct light distribution for the shape of the tree

ERCO lighting tools offer up to ten different light distributions with state of the art LED technology – for all types of trees and methods of lighting. Narrow light distributions such as narrow spot (approx. 8°) and spot (approx. 10°-20°) are ideal for accentuating. The narrow spot distribution (approx. 8°) is ideal for tall plants with a small crown, such as palms, or for large lighting distances. Wide distributions such as flood (approx. 30°), wide flood (approx. 50°) and extra wide flood (approx. 90°) are used for large-area lighting. This allows wide tree crowns to be displayed even from short distances. Oval beam angles such as oval flood (approx. 20° x 60°) are ideal for illuminating slender trees.

 Illuminating trees correctly

Suitably positioning the luminaire

In the case of a large tree whose crown is to be illuminated in a planar fashion, it is advisable to illuminate it with three luminaires which, positioned at a distance of 120°, illuminate the crown from a greater distance so that the tree appears to be strikingly highlighted from all sides, even from a distance. If on the other hand the crown of the tree should be illuminated from below or the trunk should be accentuated, positioning the luminaire below the crown of the tree, or else close to the trunk, is recommended. Find suitable accessories for any mounting situation – for example cross-arms, ground stakes and extensions.

 Illuminating trees correctly

Think about the environment

Luminaires with precise light beams without spill light are decisive for impressive lighting concepts featuring high levels of visual comfort. ERCO lighting tools have pan-and-tilt mounting to ensure that light only reaches where it is needed. ERCO outdoor luminaires are also dimmable to ensure responsibility towards the environment. Depending on the ambient brightness, even low illuminance levels of approx. 50lx are sufficient for a tree to be viewed as sufficiently bright. Also think about how to adjust the lighting when deciduous trees lose their leaves. For example, you could align the light to the tree trunk or even switch it off during this period.

 Illuminating trees correctly

Plan with weather resistant luminaires

Outdoor luminaires must be able to withstand adverse weather. A high protection rating is therefore required. All ERCO projectors, floodlights and wallwashers have an IP65 protection rating, which means they are dustproof and protected against jets of water from all directions. Ground-recessed luminaires have an IP68 protection rating. This means the luminaires are also protected against the consequences of continuous immersion in water.

Illuminating different types of trees correctly

 Illuminating trees correctly

Round trees

Round trees can be displayed and highlighted in many different ways. The position, alignment and light distribution determine whether a tree appears very sculptural via light and shadow or else uniform through floodlighting. Accentuation of the tree trunk emphasises the vertical dimension.

 Illuminating trees correctly

Palm trees and slender trees

Slender trees and palm trees present a challenge for lighting because the area to be illuminated is small. This requires precise light distributions that only project the light onto the target surface. Spotlights with narrow distributions and floodlights with oval distributions are thus particularly suitable. Directional spotlights or uplights also impressively illuminate slender trees and palm trees.

 Illuminating trees correctly

Groups of trees

A group of trees can be illuminated in a visually nuanced way by using different luminaires and via the alignment of these luminaires. Spatial depth is created via focal points of the lighting in the foreground, middle and background. Narrow distribution projectors serve to accentuate whilst wide distribution floodlights generate the ambient lighting.

Example lighting and arrangement of luminaires

Trees can be uniformly floodlit with projectors. The ideal inclination angle (α) for this is approximately 30°. Arrangement: α = 30°. A floodlight mounted at the front makes the treetop appear uniform.


To illuminate a tree crown with a diameter of approx. 5m from a distance of 3m, a projector with 12 watt LED module and extra wide flood (approx. 90°) light distribution is suitable

Identifying the right luminaire for any distance

A short lighting distance to the tree requires very wide light distribution. Narrower light distribution is needed with increasing distance to avoid spill light to the left and right of the tree crown. To achieve 50lx on the tree, a 12W LED module is sufficient at a distance of 3m and 24W at a distance of 20m.

Technical features

 Illuminating trees correctly

Suitable for adverse weather

All projectors, floodlights and wallwashers have an IP65 protection rating. This means they are dustproof and protected against jets of water from all directions. Ground-recessed luminaires are also protected to IP68 against immersion in water in the event of flooding.

 Illuminating trees correctly

Mount anywhere

Whether on the ground, on facades or high masts – projectors enable you to design flexibly. Find suitable accessories for any mounting situation – for example on cross-arms, ground stakes or mast clamps. We offer projectors with corresponding connection threads for mounting to on-site G1/2 threaded holes.

 Illuminating trees correctly

Quality of light with precision

ERCO luminaires project their light via highly efficient lenses. This creates precisely defined beams of light without spill light. With a 6 watt LED module and spot (15°) light distribution, they still achieve an illuminance of 50lx at a distance of 10 metres.

 Illuminating trees correctly

Robust in­ground housing

Corrosion-free in­ground housings mean the ground-recessed luminaires can be walked on and driven over. Both covered and flush recessing versions are available.

 Illuminating trees correctly


"ERCO individual" offers extensive options for the customising of product ranges:

 Illuminating trees correctly

Up to 10 light distributions

Always the right light distribution – from accentuating small plants to floodlighting large trees. With some luminaires, you can simply change the light distributions yourself.

 Illuminating trees correctly

Adjustable zoom optics

Zoom projectors are perfect for illuminating vegetation. Flexible light distributions thanks to zoom optics can be infinitely adjusted yourself – light distribution can thus be adapted to the growth of the trees for example.

Suitable LED luminaires for illuminating trees

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