Photos of Cell Phone Towers Disguised as Fake Trees


In 1996, a palm tree was introduced to a suburb in Cape Town Africa. The tree appeared almost overnight, and it wasn’t an ordinary tree: it was one of the world’s first (if not the first) disguised cell phone towers. Rather than have unnatural and unattractive metal towers jutting out of the ground, companies began working to make the towers blend in with the natural environment. This fake tree concept soon spread across Cape Town, across South Africa, and finally across the world.

In response to the spread of these fake trees, photographer Dillon Marsh decided to shoot a series of photos to document the trend. The series is titled, “Invasive Species.”

Wired writes that the first palm tree tower in Cape Town was commissioned by African mobile telecommunications company Vodacom in order to combat the problem of “visual pollution.” The resulting tower was created using non-toxic plastics.

Invasive Species, Durbanville (2009)

Marsh writes that his project, captured over the course of six months in 2009, is meant to explore “the relationship between the environment and the disguised towers of Cape Town and its surrounds.”











Another photographer who has worked on documenting the rise of fake cell phone tower trees is Robert Voit, whose “New Trees” project features tree towers found in a number of countries around the world.

You can find more of Marsh’ work over on his website.

Invasive Species by Dillon Marsh (via Wired and Beautiful/Decay)

Image credits: Photographs by Dillon Marsh

  • 773metric

    These are wonderful – both the original concept of disguising towers as trees, and the photos themselves. The processing makes them look like vintage hand-tinted postcards.

  • Syuaip

    Seeing these nice pictures somehow I feel less annoyed by the ‘invasion’. I wish they did the same with the ones around my place.

  • Sterling

    Great photos and great industrial design.
    Now if only they could disguise the visual pollution of wind farms.

  • eraserhead12

    giant replicas of wind-powered lawn ornaments, like those birds with flapping wings? ;)

  • eraserhead12

    second from the bottom–I wonder what it’s like to have a 40-foot cactus/palm tree hybrid in your neighborhood?

  • Burnin Biomass

    That post processing style is not my cup of tea. It ruined what could be an interesting set of images for me.

  • donniefitz2

    That’s one really big Sequoia.

  • agour

    you could paint psychedelic patterns on them, that look awesome when spinning :p

  • Hills


  • Greg Planchuelo

    I actually like looking at the horizon and seeing all those wind turbines. It’s very futuristic.

  • KH

    Lol. # 1, that 100′ tree totally blends into to that treeless neighborhood.

  • Christian DeBaun

    I’d like to know how the PP was done.

  • Abram Gotthardt

    Im sure conspiracy theorist love these things… “The government cant touch my brainwaves through my tinfoil hat!