Photo by Joey Ferguson, December 2011.
Since 2009, the lights have been undergoing a big change—from incandescent lights to LED. Now it is almost complete.
LED lights save on energy and money, consuming a fraction of the electricity that the incandescent lights would, and they are easier to maintain. They’re also better for the trees. If you’ve ever tried to unscrew a light bulb immediately after it burns out, you’ll know how hot they get. If you wrap a tree in thousands of those lights and turn on that switch, says head groundskeeper Eldon Cannon, “It generates enough heat around the buds that it deceives the buds into thinking, ‘Oh, it must be spring.’” When the lights turn off late in the evening and the temperatures plummet to 20 degrees, it’s hard for the trees to adjust to the constant switching. LED lights, though, don’t produce that same heat—which means less damage to the trees’ structure and less bugs and disease.