|Plant Trees Out of Harm’s Way|
|Library of Articles - Tree Planting/Right Tree Right Place|
Autumn is a great time to plant trees and shrubs because of cooler temperatures and adequate moisture to enter winter dormancy. If landscaping is on your fall home project list, Safe Electricity wants to ensure that you “plant the right tree in the right place.”
It is sad when large, beautiful trees grow into power lines. They just cannot co-exist. Remember Shawn Miller, young man who suffered severe electrical burns and loss of a hand while decorating outdoor trees with Christmas lights.
Miller’s story was the focus of Safe Electricity’s “Teach Learn Care TLC” campaign in 2009, as he shared his experience in hopes others could avoid similar accidents.
Trees growing near power lines have to be pruned to keep them out of the lines and its far better to choose lower growing trees that won’t grow to interfere with electric service. Before you plant, create a pro-active landscaping plan that utilizes smaller trees and shrubs near power lines and taller trees away from wires and poles.
Ground hugging shrubs and small trees that reach no more than 15 feet in height can be planted near overhead lines. Trees that mature within a 25 to 45 foot height should be planted no closer than 35 feet from the power line. Other trees that exceed 45 feet in height should be planted no closer than 45 feet from the line.
In addition to overhead lines, buried power lines can also be a problem for trees and vice versa. If utility crews need access to the buried cable, the root system may suffer. Trees and shrubs should not be planted deliberately over an underground utility line.
Not only do trees add to the beauty of your landscape, they also help the environment by absorbing carbon dioxide and can also help improve energy efficiency. Three properly placed trees around a house can substantially reduce home energy consumption by shading roofs and walls by as much as 10 to 15%. Trees can be used to shade patios, reducing the air temperature around your home and your air conditioning units, and reduce the velocity of winter wind striking your home.
In addition to helping your energy bill, trees and shrubs can help beautify your neighborhood and add up to 20% to the value of a typical home. But plant the right tree in the right place and visualize it when it is fully grown. While fast growing trees will reach a mature height sooner, their wood is softer and they are more susceptible to losing limbs in winds and ice storms.