Planting a tree is a perfect way to celebrate spring. A properly sited tree can last a lifetime — a gift to your community and the environment. But planting a tree in the wrong place can cause safety concerns and interfere with utility services. That’s why it’s important to ‘plan before you plant’.
First, find out what’s underfoot. Dial 811 toll-free to Call Before You Dig. Utilities can determine if there are underground services on your property and mark them so you know what to avoid.
Digging near underground services can cause leaks or ruptures, or even present safety concerns. Trees planted too close to underground utilities can cause problems as their root systems expand.
Also, consider what’s overhead. As trees grow they can interfere with overhead lines, and they can contribute to outages during storms, such as Tropical Storm Irene and the October snowstorm of 2011.
Avoid planting right next to utility lines, and within 15 feet to either side of lines, plant only low-growing trees such as native dogwood or flowering cherry. A certified arborist, landscaper or the staff at your local garden store can help you make a smart choice.
As always, if you smell natural gas or suspect a damaged natural gas line, call 911 and your gas utility.
And, report any downed or damaged lines to UI at 1-800-7-CALL-UI.