My heart hurts for trees when I see them butchered to prevent them from interfering with above ground electric wires. I find myself wanting to put those badly trimmed trees out of their misery since most of them are severely disfigured and barely surviving.
During a visit to Connecticut last fall, I was pleased to learn that a New England-based energy company, Eversource, has published a list of 30 trees under 30 feet. Eversource recommends planting these selections near utility lines to help prevent the need to manipulate them in order to keep lines clear.
I applaud Eversource for taking this initiative. They recognize that trees are the leading cause of power outages and have taken a proactive stance to educate the public on planting the right tree in the right place. Eversource established utility arboretums at multiple locations including its Legends Drive facility in Hooksett; Berlin, Connecticut; the University of Massachusetts in Amherst; and the Urban Forestry Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. These utility arboretums provide the public with examples of the wide variety of trees that can be safely planted near and under utility equipment.
I have utility lines in front of my house and was pleased to learn that my Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud), which I planted several feet back from the lines, is one of Eversource’s recommended trees.
Other great selections if you need a small tree to plant in the vicinity of power lines include Acer griseum (Paperbark Maple), Amelanchier (Serviceberry), Cornus kousa (Kousa Dogwood), Parrotia persica (Persian Ironwood), and Stewartia pseudocamelia (Japanese Stewartia).
Eversouce’s ’30 under 30’ list is a great reference that I hope readers will use when planting near utility lines or in any constrained space. Just remember, ‘Right Plant, Right Place.’ When you do the research and plan before you plant, you’ll be rewarded with good results!