Right Tree Right Place
There are many benefits that come with having trees on your property - shade, beauty, windbreak, privacy, cleaner air, less noise, less glare, and higher property values to name a few. But the key to these benefits is to select the right tree and plant it in the right place. The right tree in the right place not only ensures a lifetime of satisfaction, but it also keeps maintenance costs low.
The Wrong Way
Incorrectly planting trees on the property has a negative impact on the benefits and aesthetics of your landscaping. Planting large-growing trees under utility lines often means disfigured trees in later years because they must be trimmed to prevent outages. Properly planting trees, however, can bring natural beauty to yards, shade, and reduction of energy usage. For example, large evergreens too close to the house on the south side can block warming winter sunlight, resulting in higher heating costs during cold weather.
The Right Way
Carefully plan where and why you plant trees on your property. To avoid trees being pruned away from power lines, plant short flowering trees to prevent a clash with overhead utility lines. If you'd like to know which trees you can plant, check out the latest list of approved trees for your ROW here.
For energy efficiency, large deciduous trees on the southeast, southwest, and west can provide cooling shade in summer, but they should be located where low winter sunlight is not obstructed. Evergreens planted on the north side can serve as wind breaks in the winter. Our Vegetation Management Specialists can advise members on ways trees can be used to help with home comfort and energy savings.
Factors to Consider Before Planting
- The tree’s purpose affects the suitability of different species, whether used for shade, aesthetic beauty, wind protection, or other purposes.
- The size and location of the tree, including space for roots and branches, affects the decision on which species to plant.
- You should also consider the width and depth of the root system. Trees with deep root systems can stand up to severe weather conditions while wide root systems should be placed away from structures, foundations, and plumbing systems to prevent damage.
Benefits of the Right Tree in the Right Place
- Deciduous trees are best used on the south and west sides of your home to provide cooling shade in summer and warming sunlight in the winter.
- Evergreens planted on the north side can become a natural windbreak from cold winter winds.
- Shorter trees can provide soil stability and beauty in your landscaping.
- Consider how tall your tree will be when mature and how wide the root structure will become. For example, certain types of short flowering trees don’t interfere with the electric system because their mature height is still 15 feet below the power lines. You will also need to make sure the base of the tree is planted 15-20 feet from the centerline of the ROW.
- Plant large trees at least 40-60 feet away from the ROW to reduce the need for pruning.
If you need help picking a type of tree for your yard, MTE has compiled a list of trees recommended for the ROW that won’t interfere with power lines. You can view the recommended tree list by downloading the list.