Tree Planting Guide

The right tree in the right place enhances your home and requires minimal maintenance.

Right tree, right place

To improve your safety, reduce maintenance hassles and reduce tree-related power outages, use these guidelines when choosing and planting trees.

Under distribution power lines – Zone 1

Distribution lines are primarily near roads and sidewalks, and sometimes backyards. Stick with small trees with a maximum mature height of 20-30 feet.

Front or side yard (sometimes backyard) – Zone 2

This is usually where the power line drops from the pole into your building. Choose small to medium trees, depending on the size of your yard. Medium-sized trees (30-50 feet) require large, private lawn areas.

Backyard – Zone 3

Any size tree is okay, as long as there are no overhead lines. However, consider the size of your yard. Large trees (50+ feet) require a large yard.

Near transmission lines – Zone 4

If there’s a high-voltage transmission line on or near your property, the tree should be no more than 15 feet tall and at least 30 feet away.

In Zones 2 and 3

Plant trees with spreading crowns at least 25 feet away from wires, sidewalks and buildings. Trees with columnar or pyramidal forms should be at least 10 feet away.

Underground power

If you have a transformer on your property, it’s important to maintain safety clearances on all sides. That means the front, sides and back of this equipment should be clear of plants, large tree roots and fences.

Although we understand that you might want to block a transformer from view, it’s critical to make sure it’s accessible at all times. If there’s an outage, this can help speed up restoration time.

You may see a similar graphic showing the required clearance on an orange sticker on the transformer.

Keep clear by following these tips

  • Keep a clearance of 10 feet from the front of the equipment and 3 feet on all other sides. This allows for safe operation and lets crews quickly access the transformer doors if they need to perform maintenance. (Crews need at least 10 feet of room to work the switch safely.)

  • If you plant around a transformer, consider how big the plant may get over several years. Put the right plant in the right place to keep the transformer out of view and allow for safe clearances.

  • Remember that our crews may need to remove plants or other obstacles if they’re in the way of our equipment during inspection or maintenance.

There are two types of transformers

A pad-mounted transformer is a locked cabinet on a concrete pad.

A vault transformer is an underground concrete enclosure.

More resources

You don't have to have a degree in forestry like our expert tree crews in order to plant and maintain trees in a way that minimizes hassle down the road. Here are some tips to keep your trees happy and everyone safe.

Power lines and vegetation

Download our brochure for general information about how to ensure safe, reliable power in your neighborhood when it comes to trees and other vegetation.

Selecting the right plants and trees

There’s a lot to consider when you are selecting a plant or tree. Are you planting it for shade? To attract wildlife? Screen a view? Add color or flowers? Read on for more considerations.

How to plant a tree

You’re going to be living with this tree for a long time. Planting it correctly will help ensure a long, happy relationship with your new tree.

Guidelines for inspecting trees

Inspecting your trees on a regular basis can help prevent damage or injury from falling limbs. Here’s what to look for.

Tree pruning and removal

Cutting trees and severe pruning is restricted within most cities and requires a permit. Learn more about this process.