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 Planting Trees Near Utilities

Right plant, right place is a very important concept when it comes to landscape design and construction – especially when it comes to planting trees in areas where utilities are present. 
The tree behind me has been chosen well for the location that it’s in. In general, when homeowners are looking at planting a tree where utilities are present, it’s preferable that the tree be no larger than 25 feet tall and has a spread of less than 20 feet. This will insure that the tree won’t be subject to any harsh pruning by the utility companies as they make their regular rounds.
Many homeowners have had poor experiences with trees planted too close to utility lines. Many trees that grow to mature size near utility lines will end up being severely pruned by utility companies to reduce the risk of power outages. Homeowners need to realize this, and there are many smaller tree varieties that will work well in utility situations. Varieties such as crabapple, redbuds, and smaller maple trees should be considered.
Remember that next time you plant a tree, take into account the mature size and spread of the new tree. That way you’ll insure that your tree has a long and healthy future, and you’ll reduce anxiety from worrying about a tree that is getting too large and is encroaching on power lines.
This feature story prepared with Jason Graves, Kansas State University Research and Extension Horticulture Agent for Central Kansas Extension District. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.