This tree has had nothing but time on its side to make a mess of this electrical installation.
Originally the wiring and electrical box was attached to the tree and was most likely more or less functional. Based on the type of wire used in the installation (rated for use underground) GFCI protection for the receptacle would have been required. Of course the installation is in violation of several code requirements, including that the wiring must be protected from mechanical damage after it comes out of the ground. The box is not adequately attached to the tree and likely should not be attached to the tree at all.
The installation has been this way long enough for the tree to “eat” the wire in two locations and there is no way to assess what damage is occurring to the wire inside the tree.
Besides having reversed polarity there was no GFCI protection of the receptacle–or in this case, possibly, the tree itself.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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