When planting trees around overhead power lines typically found in residential areas, homeowners can help prevent service interruptions and minimize the need for pruning in the future.
The key is to select the right kind of tree for the location. Avoid planting any tree directly underneath power lines. And, as the diagram shows, make sure any variety of tree planted is a least 15 feet outside of the power line right-of-way and will grow to a mature height of 15 feet or less. Small trees such as flowering Techny arborvitae, dogwood or nannyberry are ideal for these locations. In addition, such trees often feature smaller root structures. So they’re also less likely to crack sidewalks and driveways or to clog underground drain lines. Plant taller trees farther away to ensure they can’t grow into power lines. At distances of 15 to 50 feet, plant trees that grow to a height of 40 feet or less. If you want to plant a tree that grows tall, such as a maple, oak, pine or spruce, make sure it’s at least 50 feet from the nearest overhead lines.
Whether you’re looking for more summer shade, an effective windbreak or just to enhance the beauty of your property, start by selecting the right tree for your location. Consult with your local nursery or your county agricultural extension agent. If your planting area has power lines nearby or if you have any questions, call our Right-of-Way Vegetation Management Department at 1-800-562-4953.
Images contributed by East Central Energy, a member-owned electric cooperative.