Creating an electrical safety plan before you plant a tree

September 21, 2020

 • BY Rob Ford

Early autumn is often considered the best time to plant a tree. But no time is a good time if you don’t have a plan and take precautions. Not only do dangers lurk for the person at planting time, but without a plan, a tree can cause problems for nearby power lines, people who rely on the power, and the longevity of the tree itself.

“You can’t spell plant without a plan!” is what Tipmont REMC wants its DIY’ers to remember when landscaping.

Before you start planting, we encourage our consumers to call 811 at least five days ahead of time. Never assume the utility lines are buried deeper than you plan to dig. Digging into a buried power line, or any buried utility, with power equipment or a hand shovel, can cause serious injury or death. A single call to 811 will bring representatives out from affected utilities to mark where their respective utility lines are.

Once you know where to plant to avoid underground utilities, figure out the prime planting spot away from any overhead utility lines. If you are planting a small tree that will grow no larger than 25 feet tall, planting it 25 feet away from power lines is a safe distance. If the mature tree is 25-40 feet tall, plant it 40 feet away from power lines. The bigger the tree, the farther it should be. So, if the tree is expected to grow more than 40 feet high, it should be planted 60 feet away from utility lines.

Tipmont REMC works hard to provide you reliable electric service. You can help by following these few simple guidelines when managing the trees on your property. Being aware of these dangers and how to avoid them can keep you, your home and the trees safe.

5-step tree planting plan: before and after you plant

  • 1. Before you dig, call 811, the underground utility locator service, to mark the location of underground utilities so accidental contact, damage and injuries can be avoided.
  • 2. Choose trees that will grow no higher than 25 feet when planting near power lines. Plant larger trees more than 40-60 feet away from power lines.
  • 3. Do not plant near underground utility services. Tree roots can grow and interfere with underground pipes, cables and wires. Future repairs to these facilities also could damage the health and beauty of nearby plants and trees.
  • 4. Pick the right spot. Don’t plant trees, shrubs, plants or other vegetation where they can damage electrical equipment or interfere with Tipmont REMC’s ability to access it.
  • 5. Ask Tipmont REMC to come trim your tree if it begins growing near power lines; don’t risk your safety doing it yourself.
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Rob Ford

Rob Ford

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Rob Ford is Tipmont and Wintek's communication director, a role he's held since 2015.

Rob has a bachelor's and a master's in Communication from Purdue University. He lives in West Lafayette with his wife and three children and has a life-sized Yoda statue in his office. Away from the office, you’ll find Rob working on his golf swing, jump shot, or hope for a Purdue basketball national title – all futile endeavors.

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