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March 25, 2022
3 min. read
We interviewed Angela Vacchino, Safety Instructor, on the importance of planting trees and shrubs far away from power lines.
Angela Vacchino appreciates the beauty of a newly planted tree or shrub – especially when it’s planted away from power lines.
“Unfortunately, it happens very often. People underestimate the dangers of power lines. Electricity is a silent killer.”
Prior to her current role, Vacchino spent 13 years as an arborist – where she witnessed, first handedly, the dos and don’ts of tree planting. Today, she trains crews to recognize the danger of planting too close to power lines and how to safely address the issue. Planting in a location away from power lines helps reduce power outages, fires and ensures homeowners will enjoy the beauty of newly planted trees and shrubs for years to come.
With the warmer weather rolling in, and as you’re starting to think about planting, Vacchino shares some tips, below, on planning before planting and finding the appropriate (safe!) location to plant trees. More information can also be found on Hydro One’s website for topics such as caring for trees on your property, tree trimming and scheduling an appointment to temporary disconnect your electrical power.
Planning before planting
When planting trees on your property, avoid planting trees near any power lines or electrical equipment, such as poles, to ensure newly planted trees and shrubs never interfere with nearby power lines or electrical equipment.
If a tree must be planted near a power line on your property, first check with your municipality to ensure all by-laws are followed and that any easements on your property are respected.
Right tree, right place
Planting trees and shrubs beautifies your property, reduces your heating and cooling costs and produces many environmental benefits. Choose the appropriate planting zone for your new tree.
Tall zone: The best place to plant tall-growing trees is at least 8 m away from overhead power lines. Tall-growing trees include Colorado spruce, white pine and sugar maple.
Medium zone: The medium zone is from 5 - 8 m on either side of the distribution lines. Plants in this area should not exceed 8 m at maximum height. Medium zone trees include serviceberry, ornamental pear and white cedar.
Low zone: The low zone is directly under the power lines and extends 5 m on either side of the lines. Plants in this area should not exceed 3 m at maximum height. Low-growing trees and shrubs include dogwood, honeysuckle and silverberry. Please keep a 5 m radius around distribution poles clear of vegetation. Plants in this area obstruct maintenance work and emergency restoration efforts.
If you are planting the seedling at home, please plant the seedling at least 8 metres away from power lines. Tree contact with power lines accounts for about 30 per cent of power outages in Ontario.
Call before you dig to locate underground lines. Call Ontario One Call to book 1-800-400-2255 or visit on1call.com.
“Trees account for more than 30 per cent of power outages. Our crews play a vital role in protecting power lines and homeowners have a role, too! We all want to ensure customers and Hydro One crews are safe and that electricity is there when you need it.”
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