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How to Avoid Tree and Utility Conflicts

How to Plan, Prevent, and Plant Correctly

Most of the time, you never have to pay attention to utilities and power lines. We tend to ignore them and forget that they provide us with reliable services such as bringing power and water to our homes. However, when it comes to planning and planting trees on your property, you need to pay attention and plan according to the locations of any overhead and underground lines. As trees grow, their branches can come in contact with overhead lines that carry electricity, communication, and data. Underground, a tree’s roots can cause damage to water lines, sewage pipes, and natural gas lines. Knowing where these lines run throughout your property should directly impact how you plan your tree and planting locations. For instance, the mature, fully-grown height and spread of a tree must not come within certain spaces of said lines. Similarly, the soil area needs to meet requirements for proper rooting and trunk diameter. With the correct tree and site location, you can enjoy worry-free greenery and flora on your property for years to come.

The Importance of Avoiding Overhead Lines

. When it comes to planning your tree growth, it's imperative to consider overhead powerline locations. Overhead lines can be extremely dangerous. If you plant your tree under a power line, you will have to constantly prune it in often strange and unsightly ways to avoid contact with the overhead lines. Even worse, your utility provider may prune your tree with little care for aesthetics. By periodically pruning your growing tree, you’ll inevitably affect its lifespan and overall health. They become less stable as they grow away from and around the lines, creating stress on the wood and making them more vulnerable to disease and insects. Furthermore, your tall trees can interrupt service if they contact these wires. Anyone climbing the tree is at severe risk of coming in contact as well. In short, avoiding planting trees where there are overhead lines reduces the risk of safety hazards, expenses for trimming and pruning, and improves the look and life of your trees.

Planning Around Underground Lines

When you look at a tree, you only see roughly 50% of it. The roots underground take up just as much, if not more space. They can also spread widely throughout your property, creeping into unwanted spaces. Many utility services like water lines and sewage pipes run underground, often uninterrupted. While roots and utility lines usually don't cause problems together, they can. If you plant a tree near underground lines, your roots can damage the pipes, causing catastrophic damage. Additionally, to prevent these breaks, your tree roots may be trimmed and broken when digging up the pipes for repair. Before you select a place to plant your tree, make sure you know where underground lines are. Contact your utility company or a utility locator service to make sure you won't accidentally dig into a line. The last thing you want when planting a tree is burying your shovel or excavator into a waterline, risking injury, and interrupting service.

Analyzing Zoning and Where to Plant Trees

Trees are categorized into three different zones: tall, medium, and low. Tall trees are recognized as 60 feet or taller. These need to be planted at least 35 feet away from any property to minimize damage and allow for proper root growth. Tall trees are recommended for large, open areas where they have space to grow without interruption from overhead and underground lines and buildings. Medium trees grow up to 40 feet in height. They're perfect for accenting your home or creating a quaint park. You should plant them at least four to eight feet away from each other to allow for healthy growth. Trees 20 feet and shorter fall in the low zone. You can plant these without the worry of interrupting overhead utility lines as they won't reach a height tall enough to damage them. Low zone trees are also a good solution when you're limited on soil volume.

Bringing It All Together

It's important to plan for your tree's life while paying attention to the surrounding buildings and utilities. With proper planning and habits, your new trees will live long, prosperous lives without the need to damage their branches or roots. If you aren't sure about where to plant your tree, you can always contact a specialist or an arborist. We have years of experience helping plan and plant trees of all sizes in all types of settings.