Do Your Research Before Planting Trees this Arbor Day
Many people plant trees during the spring, especially around National Arbor Day. There are many environmental and beautification benefits to planting young trees. However, we want to remind everyone of electrical hazards while planting this year. Always seek help from professionals when choosing and placing trees and bushes.
Trees that grow too close to electric lines can create shock, and fire hazards as well as power outages. More importantly, children can become victims of electric shock when they climb trees that have grown too close to the power lines as well. Trees growing into power lines can also create electrical hazards for people who might be trimming branches, hanging lights or otherwise working around them.
Take the time to research tree selections by consulting your local arborist, tree nursery, or utility. These experts can assist in designing a beautiful, shade-filled yard with trees appropriate for each landscape area. With their help, trees can provide economical cooling in the summer and a windbreak for harsh winter winds.
Choosing the right tree for the right place is crucial, especially when it comes to power lines. Trees and wood in general can potentially conduct electricity and can create a safety hazard if grown close to electric lines. Power outages or momentary interruptions can occur when branches encounter overhead lines. Electrical arcing and sparking from a wire to a nearby branch can also cause fires.
If you have trees that appear to be growing into power lines, contact your electric utility. Never try to prune them yourself. Utilities have or can recommend skilled professionals trained to safely prune and trim trees for electric line clearance.
To avoid future electrical hazards, safe planting tips to remember include:
Consider the mature height of trees. Never plant a tree near a power line that could grow within 25 feet of it. Tall growing trees should be planted at least 20 feet away from power lines and 50 feet away to avoid future pruning. A mature height of fewer than 15 feet is recommended for trees planted near power lines.
Do not plant near underground utility services. Tree roots can grow to interfere with underground pipes, cables, and wires. Future repairs to these facilities also could damage the health and beauty of nearby plants and trees, or even require removal.
Keep areas around electric meters, transformers, or other electrical equipment free of any vegetation that could limit utility service access.
Before digging, call the local underground utility locator service to mark the location of underground utilities so that accidental contact, damage and injuries can be avoided.