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Planting Trees? Stay Away From Power Lines

 Planting Trees? Stay Away From Power Lines

If the trees in your yard have grown so tall that they touch overhead power lines, they can cause all kinds of trouble. Branches that sway in the wind and rain can snap an electric line, sending a live wire to the ground, where it can electrocute anyone who touches it. Plus, lines broken by trees will cause you and your neighbors to lose electricity.

That’s why any tree that poses a danger—even an old or favorite tree—could be slated for removal by your electric cooperative.

Prevent problems by planting smart. A few tips:

Do some research about the tree you want to plant. Learn how tall it will grow—and how wide the full span of its branches will become. Use those dimensions to determine how far away from a power line you should plant it. Some trees are safe only when they grow 30 feet or more away from a line.

If the landscape design you like requires you to plant trees near electric lines, choose a low-growing variety that will never be tall enough to pose a hazard.

Before digging any holes to plant trees, call 811, the state’s “call before you dig” service. If you don’t call and hit underground utility lines, you could be liable for damages.

Avoid planting in the right-of-way on the edge of your yard. Your electric cooperative and other utility companies must maintain that space and could wind up trimming trees out of the way of power lines—possibly leaving the tree looking lopsided.

Don’t plant shrubs too close to your home’s outdoor air conditioning unit. AC units require breathing room and should never be crowded by shrubbery or debris.

If your yard is already home to trees that are close to power lines, keep the trees trimmed so they don’t touch any overhead wires. Hire a professional tree trimmer with the proper tools and training to provide this service for you. Don’t risk doing it yourself.