Home & Garden Idea Fair
Planting the Right Tree in the Right Place
Have you moved into a new home and the spring weather has you thinking about adding a tree or two to your yard? The first step is to remember that both trees and utility lines enhance our lives, but when they occupy the same overhead space, there can be shocking results. You can help prevent interruptions to your electric service and other safety hazards by planning ahead before you plant.
When deciding on the right tree to plant, there are many things to consider beyond what it looks like when it is in bloom or when it starts to turn color in the fall. Trees come in all shapes and sizes both above and below ground, and it is important to keep in mind what it will look like when it reaches maturity.
Start by asking yourself if its branches could potentially reach overhead utility lines when full grown and where is would be in relation to existing electrical equipment. Then consult the Clark Public Utilities list of recommended trees.
The second consideration is what is below ground. The roots of mature trees can cause problems by infiltrating water lines, damaging foundations, sidewalks and driveways and more. Avoid planting close to the water line that originates at the street as well as irrigation and drainage lines.
Next, call 811 two business days before your project to mark any buried utility lines. 811 is a free national call-before-you-dig service that will mark the approximate location of these lines so that you don’t unintentionally hit one when planting your tree. And now you’re ready to plant that new tree and enjoy.
Choosing the right tree to plant means you will have to spend the least amount of time on maintenance. If, however, you have an existing tree that is planted too close to overhead lines, then it’s time to call a professional. If the branches are not near the lines, a certified arborist can prune the tree to avoid future problems.
However, if the branches are on or around the lines, then call Clark Public Utilities and we’ll investigate the tree and proximity to the power line and may send a tree trimming crew that’s trained to work around electric equipment. Whether it’s to keep the tree from growing into the line or storm cleanup, never attempt to prune branches on or around power lines yourself.
At the end of the day, no amount of tree maintenance can substitute for making informed decisions before planting a tree. Look at the site where you want the tree and ask yourself if that location is going to cause future maintenance problems and possibly power outages for years to come. Consult the Clark Public Utilities approved tree list and remember that if the branches of your tree grow close to power lines, trouble can grow with them.
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