Although trees can be destructive to electric poles and lines, we know the benefits of trees as well including:
• The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. – US. Department of Agricutlure
• If you plant a tree today on the west side of your home, in five years your energy bills should be 3% less. In 15 years the savings will be nearly 12%. –Dr. Gregg McPherson, Center for Urban Forest Research
• Certain native trees can help support dozens and in some cases hundreds of species of insects, birds and other animals.
With these benefits in mind, there is a right place for every tree.
Be sure to consider the mature height of the tree when determining a suitable planting location. Native species often will grow better with fewer insect and disease problems than non-native trees. For areas near houses and overhead utilities, there are tree height zones.
Low Tree Zone - Only plant trees with a mature height of 15 feet or less within 20 feet of power lines.
Medium Tree Zone - Plant trees that will be shorter than 40 feet when mature can be planted at least 25 feet from power lines.
Large Tree Zone - Plant all trees over 40 feet at least 50 feet away from power lines.
We also recommend members not plant dense shrubs or bushes close to underground transformers, because lineworkers and technicians must still be able to access the transformer through the doors. When working with these transformers, lineworkers will use a 10-foot long “hot stick” to safely work with the lines.
If members have questions about the placement of trees prior to planting, they are encouraged to call our team for advice and insight.
Before you plant, call VA811 (formerly Miss Utility) at least three days in advance (not counting weekends and holidays) to have your underground utilities marked. They can be reached by simply dialing 811.