Avoid the Pruning Zone: Plant the Right Tree in the Right Place

Planning to add trees to your yard this summer? Planting a tree brings many benefits, including shade, privacy, cleaner air, and noise reduction, but choosing the wrong tree can create higher maintenance costs. Where you plant your tree is just as important as the type of tree you plant. At maturity, will its canopy reach overhead lines, or will its roots impact sewer pipes?

Planting the wrong tree for a particular spot – for example, a white oak that will grow to 80 feet tall with a 70-foot canopy underneath a power line – will create an ongoing need for corrective pruning, and the tree will be more prone to disease and structural issues as a result.

Before selecting your tree, make sure you know how tall, wide and deep it will be at maturity. A good source of information is the National Arbor Day Foundation’s online Tree Guide, at arborday.org.

If you are planting within 30 feet of power lines, choose a tree with a mature height of less than 20 feet tall. Flowering dogwoods and crabapple trees, for example, won’t get tall enough to interfere with Hartselle Utilities’ power lines.

Trees with a mature height of over 40 feet should be planted at least 60 feet away from power lines, according to National Arbor Day Foundation guidelines. This will minimize damage to power lines from trees knocked down during bad weather.

Finally, before you dig anywhere in your yard, call the Alabama 811 hotline. After getting the details about your project, the Alabama 811 center will send notifications to all utility service providers
which may have wires or pipes in the ground near your site. At Hartselle Utilities, a Locate Technician will visit the site within 48 hours to mark the location of underground utilities in the area, if any.

If you have a tree in your yard that needs to be pruned repeatedly to keep it away from power lines, HU will cut it down for you at no charge. To request that a tree be removed, call HU Customer Service at (256) 773-3340.