Good/bad idea to mount a camera to a tree?

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I've got a bunch of big oak trees at the front of the property. I'd like to use some of them for observation and LPR cameras, as well as having a couple of cameras pointing back towards the house.
front lawn 3.jpg

Does anyone have a recommendation for a band mount or any kind of specific mount for a tree? I thought about installing a pole or using a 6x6 pole, but that means I'd have to dig a fairly deep hole (not easy in rocky soil).

I found one company that makes these type of mounts: Stainless Steel Band & Brackets | Conduit Standoffs for 3/4 to 6 inch conduit.
 
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A few notes on mounting to trees.

As previously mentioned, use either stainless or deck screws to mount the camera.

Check the mount regularly, tree trunks grow fast and will bury the mount.

I used seal tite conduit from underground up to the camera. The seal tite is mounted to the trees with 1/4" thick aluminum flat stock, then the conduit is clamped with regular conduit straps. A single screw, stainless or deck screw, in each piece of flat stock and the two for the straps are machine screws into threaded holes in the flat stock. Even then, I regularly have to make adjustments due to trunk expansion.

Don't string cable between trees. The swaying will break any cable you hang unless you leave very large amounts of droop, which looks bad and means getting the cable up much higher in the tree where it sways even more, diminishing returns. Underground is the only way to go.
 
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Yes, even though the CAT6e cable is shielded with plenum and is rated for direct burial, I was going to use 3/4" schedule 40 pvc conduit since it's so much cheaper than the liquid tight flexible version. This stuff is only about $3 per 10 feet: JM eagle 3/4 in. x 10 ft. PVC Schedule 40 Conduit-67454 - The Home Depot

So I guess it's ok to mount directly to the trees with stainless steel screws. Awesome. That makes my job easier. Now I have to build a birdhouse to disguise the cameras lol.



A few notes on mounting to trees.

As previously mentioned, use either stainless or deck screws to mount the camera.

Check the mount regularly, tree trunks grow fast and will bury the mount.

I used seal tite conduit from underground up to the camera. The seal tite is mounted to the trees with 1/4" thick aluminum flat stock, then the conduit is clamped with regular conduit straps. A single screw, stainless or deck screw, in each piece of flat stock and the two for the straps are machine screws into threaded holes in the straps. Even then, I regularly have to make adjustments due to trunk expansion.

Don't string cable between trees. The swaying will break any cable you hang unless you leave very large amounts of droop, which looks bad and means getting the cable up much higher in the tree where it sways even more, diminishing returns. Underground is the only way to go.
 

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I build a little platform and screw it to the tree, then screw the camera to the tree.
It holds the camera a little ways from the tree, and if I have to change the camera,
I only have one set of holes in the tree. Stainless screws.
 
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PVC conduit is cheaper, but it is not designed for constant flexing. It will, eventually, crack probably down low where it won't be noticed until the damage is done. Even if I used conduit, steel conduit, I wouldn't mount it directly to the trees to prevent it from being buried in relatively short order. The PVC conduit will end up being pinched as the tree grows, as well, by the straps if mounted directly to the tree. Do not under estimate the power and strength of tree growth.
 

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Most of my cameras are mounted to tree trunks. I just screw the camera base to the tree with deck screws. No junction boxes at the camera base, but I do have a nearby box in some cases when using a POE splitter to power an IR illuminator which you may want to consider. My trees are slow growing junipers. In some cases the trunks are hollow and I was able to run the cable inside the trunk. On others I generally use flexible irrigation tubing up the tree trunk to provide physical protection for the network cable. Some of the cameras sway in heavy wind, and the trees I think lead to mores spider issues, reduced a lot using an external illuminator. All of my runs to the base of the trees are in PVC conduit.
 

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Yeah that's the thing - my trees are fairly old oaks. I'm more worried about them dying and falling over at this point than growing much more lol.
 

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I've got a bunch of big oak trees at the front of the property. I'd like to use some of them for observation and LPR cameras, as well as having a couple of cameras pointing back towards the house.
View attachment 70000

Does anyone have a recommendation for a band mount or any kind of specific mount for a tree? I thought about installing a pole or using a 6x6 pole, but that means I'd have to dig a fairly deep hole (not easy in rocky soil).

I found one company that makes these type of mounts: Stainless Steel Band & Brackets | Conduit Standoffs for 3/4 to 6 inch conduit.
Careful when mounting an LPR cam to a tree, due to the zoomed in image. Even large trees move with the wind, which is amplified by a LPR camera.
For mounting - an alternate to screwing into the tree, go with a pole mount similar to this.
 

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The problem is if I get a pole, it's fairly costly for one with a large diameter (the ones I've seen were over $300 for 8 ft) and then I have to dig a 3 ft or deeper hole in rocky soil. I'm hoping that a large diameter tree will move no more than the typical 8 foot 3" pole I can buy at home depot.

Careful when mounting an LPR cam to a tree, due to the zoomed in image. Even large trees move with the wind, which is amplified by a LPR camera.
For mounting - an alternate to screwing into the tree, go with a pole mount similar to this.
 

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Whoa - that sucker is WAY up there! How high do these type of cameras typically need to be? I'm using a couple for LPR duty and I thought folks stated to keep them not too high off the ground.

I had one in this tree for about 5-6 years, just upgraded the cam and had to change out the cable 1x, because another tree fell on it..

View attachment 700481View attachment 70047
 

jmcu

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lol - Yea this is higher than most would install, it is used for a critter cam and no plate capture required for them.
It is on a side hill so to the left of the ladder goes uphill and right downhill.
 

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Careful when mounting an LPR cam to a tree, due to the zoomed in image. Even large trees move with the wind, which is amplified by a LPR camera.
For mounting - an alternate to screwing into the tree, go with a pole mount similar to this.
This thread may have given me a solution to my LPR ambitions. My house is set back 50-60' or so from the road. Getting a decent angle on the license plates from where my garage juts forward is challenging enough. And I can't put anything on my mailbox (HOA regulations). But a cam on the one of the trees would be pretty doable... That would cut the distance in half:

1599440175760.png

Anyway, about the tree sway: LPR images are by nature fast shutter speed, right? I'm having trouble imagining the tree trunk moving fast enough to be an issue for LPR.

OK, time for me to start reading up on how to pull a line out to the tree that's on the left, going under the sidewalk. I saw a guy use a hose nozzle with the hose fastened to a stick, and he just slowly pushed it under, letting the spraying water do the work of breaking through the soil in front...

Or I could just use a wifi camera with a battery, right? :rofl: (just kidding, no wifi for me)
 

Mike A.

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Anyway, about the tree sway: LPR images are by nature fast shutter speed, right? I'm having trouble imagining the tree trunk moving fast enough to be an issue for LPR...
I was surprised how much apparent motion there was at times for one that I did on a fairly large tree. I didn't think that it moved at all. Definitely could see mine shaking when viewing when there were strong winds. I wasn't doing it as an LPR cam though. Probably still could get a good plate image I'd guess. Maybe not as clear depending on exactly when motion happens and the capture is done.

Another consideration is leaves/vegetation. Just a few leaves in the view will hurt the image beyond a lot with the IR reflection and cam adjusting to that bright area. You can play with the compensation some to help if it's in one area but still never seems as good as a nice clean clear view.
 
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