Plant Smart

Plant the Right Tree in the Right PlacePlant smart graphic

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

Quick Links for Planting

Guidelines for Landscaping

Fencing Guidelines

See below for additional information on planting.

Before you Plant

Planting distances:

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

Some species are suitable for the Interior. Below, you’ll find some guidelines to follow when planting trees and shrubs near GVEA 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 along the right of way. GVEA recommends planting grasses, annuals and herbaceous perennials 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. Remember to 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

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

  • 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 access to the electric meter.
    • GVEA needs to access the meter and be able to see it to read it.
  • If you live in an area that has underground power, do not plant shrubs and trees near metal transformer cabinets.

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.

FYI … GVEA has several arborists on staff during the summer months; their knowledge is an added benefit to GVEA.