Tips For Planting Trees Near Utility Lines

Posted on: 28 November 2016

Utility lines, both those above ground and those placed below, can suffer damage from the trees in your landscape. It's best to plan ahead before you even plant a new tree, simply so you can avoid trouble down the road. The following tips will help you manage the health of your tree in relation to nearby utility lines.

Tip #1: Locate underground lines

It goes without saying that you need to know the location of all underground utilities before planting a tree, as you don't want to hit one during the process. There is reason for concern even if the lines don't run directly underneath your planting site, though. As the tree grows, it will send out roots that can cause damage to underground utilities. One option is to install a root barrier near the utility line. This metal or concrete barrier is buried so it's invisible, but it still prevents tree roots from reaching the line.

Tip #2: Size matters

It's a good practice to avoid planting a tree directly beneath overhead lines. In some cases, though, you may have little choice than to work around the lines, especially if they cut right over your property. In this case, opt for lower growing trees or shrubs that aren't expected to get tall enough to interfere with the lines. You should also opt for lower growing trees if a line will pass within about 10 feet of the tree, since a large canopy of branches can easily reach out that far.

Tip #3: Choose the right tree

The type of tree is also important when planting beneath utility lines. Deciduous trees and cone-shaped conifers shouldn't be topped to make them shorter. This can be a problem if they are growing beneath a line and become too tall. The utility company will usually prune out any branches that interfere with the line, which can result in an ugly tree or weak growth pattern. Mounding-style evergreens, such as boxwoods and junipers, can be trimmed back and shaped extensively, making them a better choice. If you plan to prune these annually, you can effectively control the size and shape so that they don't ever grow tall enough to interfere with the power lines. You will still want to plant them a few feet away, though, so that your tree trimming company can access the tree for trimming without any safety concerns for the power line.

Contact a tree service company in your area, like Tree Worx, for more help.