SMECO newsletter

volume 67 - issue 9 - September 2017

Plant the right tree at the right place

Fall is around the corner and it's a great time to plant trees and shrubs. Beautifying your landscape is a wonderful project, but it's important to consider the electric equipment near your home and the future of your plantings to ensure that when the plant is fully mature it doesn't cause damage or outages.

Plan for the future when planting a tree

Trees are the major cause of power interruptions, both prolonged and momentary, for SMECO customer-members. We devote much of our resources to cutting and trimming trees that threaten electric service.

When carefully selected and placed, a tree can provide your family with many years of enjoyment without threatening your electric service. It can even help you conserve energy by providing shade in the summer and protection in the winter.

Look up first before you plant a tree. At its mature height, a tree planted under or too close to a power line may cause costly trimming and maintenance problems for you and SMECO to prevent trees from contacting power lines. Here's a quick guideline on tree size and spacing from power lines.

Zone A: Small trees

Zone A is the area within 30 feet of any side of the power line. For this zone we recommend planting trees that reach no higher than 20 feet at maturity.

Zone B: Medium trees

Zone B is the area 30 to 75 feet away from the power line. For this zone we recommend planting trees that reach no higher than 50 feet at maturity.

Zone C: Large trees

Zone C is the area 75 feet or more away from the power line. For this zone you may plant trees of any height.

Underground lines

The biggest danger to underground lines occurs during tree planting. Before you dig, call Miss Utility by dialing 811.

Transmission lines

Unlike the power lines located in most neighborhoods, transmission lines use much taller poles and carry much greater voltages. If your property is near a transmission line, please leave the area within 50 feet of the line clear of any trees.

Pick the right tree

There are many things to consider when selecting trees and landscaping for your home. Good tree placement and landscaping can enhance your property's value and prevent costly maintenance or damage to your home.

• Large trees should be planted at least 35 feet away from your house for proper root development and to minimize tree damage to the house.

• When planting a tree, consider your view, your neighbor's view, the location of your flower or vegetable gardens, and environmental conditions such as drainage, soil type, and sunlight penetration.

• Windbreaks should be evergreens planted on the west or north side of the house, about 100 to 150 feet and no more than 300 feet from the house.

• Deciduous (leaf-dropping) trees planted on the south or west side of the house will provide shade in the summer to cool the house and allow sun to enter the house in the winter.

Hundreds of species and trees can be grown in Southern Maryland. Do your research before you plant. If you have questions about planting trees near power lines, call SMECO.