Plant Smart

Plant the Right Tree in the Right Placeplantsmart

Large trees near power lines can disrupt service to you and the community and can pose safety hazards. Planting large trees away from power lines helps ensure more reliable electric service and greater public safety. Large trees near power lines often require pruning or removal to avoid electrical hazards. Proper selection of trees species for use near power lines will reduce hazards and the need for expensive, unsightly pruning or removal.

Learn about Fairbanks Landscaping Guidelines

Quick Links for Planting

Links to Arboricultural Sites

Before you plant

Planting distances:

The diagram below shows the recommended distances a tree should be planted from the power lines and poles.



Some species are suitable for the Interior.  Here are some guidelines to follow when planting trees and shrubs near Golden Valley Electric Association power lines.

Note:  this list is only a guideline. Not all species do well in all site and soil conditions. Consult your local nursery, Alaska Cooperative Extension Service, landscape professional or GVEA's ISA certified arborist for information on suitable growing sites for specific species.


Within 15 feet from power poles and lines

Do not plant trees or shrubs within this space as it is needed for equipment access down the right of way.  Plant grasses, annuals and herbaceous perennials in this area instead.

15 to 20 feet from power poles 

Plant small trees and shrubs that reach no more than 20 feet in height at maturity.  Some appropriate plants for this area include:

  • Creeping juniper
  • Muhgo pine
  • Red-osier, Siberian or dwarf dogwood
  • Siberian pea shrub
  • Serviceberry
  • Honeysuckles
  • Lilacs
  • Nanking cherry
  • Potentilla
  • Peking cottonester
  • Currant
  • Roses
  • Spireas
  • Siberian crabapples
  • Flowering crabapples
  • Amur maple
  • Russian olive


20 to 40 feet from power poles

Plant medium-sized trees in this area that reach no more than 40 feet at maturity.  Consider the crown as well as the height.

  • Choke cherries, (including Canadian Red and Amur)
  • European bird cherry (May Day)
  • Mountain ash
  • Alder (mountaingreen, Sitka, thinleaf)
  • Willow (feltleaf)
  • Black spruce


40 feet or more from power poles

  • White spruce
  • Birch
  • Lodgepole pine
  • Scotch pine
  • Eastern larch (Tamarack), Siberian larch,
  • Quaking aspen (needs open space to form good shape)
  • Balsam poplar


Other things to consider

  • Don't plant trees where they will obstruct the meter.
  • If you live in an area that has under ground power, do not plant shrub and trees near metal transformer cabinets. 
  • We need to access the meter and be able to see it to read it.


Tree Line USA Utility

Since 2003, GVEA has been a proud member of Tree Line USA, which is sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation in coorperation with the National Association of State Foresters.  They recognize public and private utilitiies across the nation that demonstrate practices that protect and enhance America's urban forests.

Treeline USA-utility


FYI ... GVEA has four arborists on staff during the summer months. Their knowledge is an added benefit to GVEA.















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