The Great Outdoors

Plan Before You Plant!

Trees and power lines often coexist without problems. However, residents should take precautions when planting a tree. Indiana Electric Cooperatives offers tips and reminders to keep residents safe while planting a tree on their property.

“Before you ever plant that first shovel into the ground or sketch that first planting plan, we encourage you to call 811 at least five days ahead,” said Jon Elkins, vice president of safety, training, and compliance at Indiana Electric Cooperatives. “Never assume utility lines are buried deeper than you plan to dig.”

When residents call 811, the underground utility locator service, technicians come out to the home to mark the location of underground utilities so accidental contact, damage, and injuries can be avoided. Once this information is known, homeowners can set some guidelines by sketching up a diagram before planting to avoid dangerous, underground utilities.

IEC advises homeowners to plant away from underground or overhead utility services. As trees grow, their roots can interfere with underground pipes, cables and wires if planted too close to any existing buried utilities. Trees planted too close to overhead lines need regular pruning to avoid potential contact with those lines.

Consider a tree’s potential growth when choosing its location. If it’s expected to grow higher than 15 feet, choose a spot 25 to 50 feet away from utility lines and homes. This will not only keep the homeowner and the home safe but will ensure the tree can enjoy a full life. Call the local electric cooperative if a tree needs to be trimmed away from power lines.

Don’t plant trees, shrubs, plants, or other vegetation where it can damage electrical equipment, such as the green pad-mounted electrical transformers used with underground power lines or interfere with the electric utility’s ability to access the box.

For more information about planting the right tree in the right place, download our tree planting guide here:

The Waynedale News Staff
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