Electrifying a Tree!

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by Freakendorf, Jul 24, 2014.

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  1. Freakendorf

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 24, 2014
    In my search for an effective way to protect my fruit trees from animal predators and birds, I looked at the electric fence option. But these require that the tree be isolated from the hot wires, otherwise it will be grounded and become useless. In my case, there's no way to totally isolate the tree and prevent that from happening. So I'm persisting and hoping to find a way to have a tree "defend itself" by either pulsating or steady, AC or DC current, and have it produce electrical shock at the touch - without shorting out. A twist or a trick, or through the employing of an elaborate scheme, anything that can make that possible.

    There are mainly two concepts - or alternative setups - that I'm thinking of:

    1) Electrifying the tree itself, by attaching the hot wires directly to it, but find a way to keep it "hot", despite it being grounded in the earth!
    2) Electrifying a mesh wire that's wrapped around the tree, and be able to keep the mesh wire "hot" despite it being touched by all the branches.

    We have to remember, everything is in a very tight space and there's no room or possibility for isolation.

    Is that possible?

    This is a question for someone with deep understanding of electrical circuitry to answer and come up with a possible creative solution. I'm still hoping for one!

    Your comments and insight would be greatly appreciated!
  2. Lestraveled

    Well-Known Member

    May 19, 2014
    How would you protect against, say, a small child from stumbling upon your electrified fruit trees?
  3. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    You cannot electrify the tree itself for more reasons than just "it's grounded". Also, the best you could do is mesh around the trunk, preferably leaving some space between the mesh and the tree. You really can't protect the entire tree by electrifying it.
  4. to3metalcan


    Jul 20, 2014
    The tree itself is probably a pretty big resistance. Wood is not a good conductor. Ergo, the problem isn't that it's grounded, per se. But that means it's going to dissipate the high voltage across it as heat, and if you're really using enough juice to effectively electrify every leaf and branch then a) it's probably not good for the tree in general, and b) it'll probably burst into flames.

    You could put a mesh dome around the tree, or figure out some way to wire it up so that the wires are insulated on only one side (the side toward the tree), but really all these solutions have in common that the tree won't be very pretty and won't be much good to anyone...not to mention, as Les pointed out, an accident waiting to happen.
  5. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    My concern if the wiring touches the tree is if (or rather, when) the tree gets wet. That could certainly burn it.
  6. to3metalcan


    Jul 20, 2014
    For sure, and I think you might actually end up needing a separate supply for every branch, anyway...if you apply high voltage at one point, it's going to ground through the trunk, not hang out in all the other branches (which aren't connected to ground and are hence very weak legs of a current-divider.) I think enough power to overcome this would technically be the same thing as a lightning strike, and then you haven't exactly protected the tree...
  7. inwo

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2013
    Even if possible, and I think it is, it's not practical. Worse yet not safe or effective.

    It the entire root system were isolated from earth, by growing in a huge insulated tank. The tree could be charged to a high potential.

    This would do absolutely not good. It would be like the bird on the wire.

    I'm open to other ideas, but I don't know how to get further out of the box than that.:D
    DerStrom8 likes this.
  8. to3metalcan


    Jul 20, 2014
    It's theoretically possible, I suppose, that you could wrap insulated tracks (like a heavy poly tape material) around the tree and then go back over them with live wiring, and secure them with some kind of ties. However, apart from being (again) probably not great for the tree (you're essentially doing the same thing as strangler vines, and restricting airflow is a great way to breed diseases and parasites), I can think of about a million ways this could subsequently fail, starting with branches falling or being blown down in a storm. High voltage slapstick is only funny when you read about it later...
  9. crutschow


    Mar 14, 2008
    As inwo noted an electrified tree (even if possible) would not deter birds or animals that jumped into the tree because there is no path between them and ground (the bird on the electrified wire). The only way for that to work would be an electrified mesh with two wire layers insulated from each other (like an electric fly swatter).

    So the best idea is probably just to stick with the old plastic mesh available at hardware stores specially made to completely cover the trees and physically prevent the varmints from getting to the fruit.
  10. bertus


    Apr 5, 2008

    I am closing this thread as it violates AAC policy and/or safety issues.

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