Trees are a great addition to any yard. They not only make your property look great, but they can also benefit it in numerous ways, by providing shade, improving the quality of your lawn and soil, and even increasing the value of your home.
But when it comes to planting trees, it’s important to be mindful and diligent on where you place a tree. Power lines run just about everywhere and are often hard to avoid when choosing a location for your tree, especially if you live in an urban area of Ottawa. But there are a few factors to weigh and consider before committing to a location.
Choose Appropriate Species for Height
Before you decide on what species you want to plant, it’s always wise to consult with an expert planter or arborist if possible on what species is more preferable when it comes to their full growth. For example, an evergreen can be great as they come in a variety of shapes and heights and won’t branch out as much as others. Something like a Honey Locust can be favourable for height and shade, but it can also be cumbersome if power lines are located nearby. Find a full list of recommended trees such as Globe Maple, Showy Mountain Ash, and White Cedar on our blog post, Trees for Under Power Lines.
Choosing the Right Location
The location is just as important as the species and should be tailored accordingly. Hydro Ottawa has categorized the area surrounding power lines into three separate zones:
Low Zone – This area extends 4.5 metres (15 feet) on either side of the power line. Trees planted around this area should have the potential of growing no higher than 6 metres. These trees must be planted at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) from the base of an electric pole.
Medium Zone – Trees in this zone grow to a height of 6 to 12 metres (20 to 40 feet). Trees in this zone must be planted at minimum the length of the height of the tree at maturity. If the tree reaches 10 metres at maturity, it must be planted 10 feet back from the overhead power lines.
Tall Zone – Trees in this zone grow to a height of more than 12 metres (40+ feet). Trees planted in this zone must be at least the distance of the height of the tree at maturity from the overhead power lines. If a tree is planted too close to overhead power lines, it could cause problems when harsh storms and high winds occur, causing a greater chance of fallen branches and power outages.
If you happen to have a larger tree planted in a potentially precarious zone, it’s important to have it trimmed so that the branches can grow around power lines. There can be strict regulations when it comes to trimming trees, as it can conflict with certain bylaws. So always hire an arborist or professional tree trimming company to handle it.
If you’ve decided to add a tree to your property, make sure to take some time to consider the species and location that you select. Understanding the growth pattern in relation to nearby power lines is vital to avoid any potentially dangerous situations in the future.
If you have any questions, just ask the pros at Ritchie Feed & Seed! We’ll help you find a tree that enhances the look and feel of your property while making sure safety is a top priority.