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Selecting Trees for Distribution Rights of Way

Selecting Trees for Distribution Rights of Way

When selecting a tree or shrub to plant, it is just as important to consider what you plant as it is where you plant. The right tree or shrub, planted in the right place, can give you years of beauty and value without the potential dangers of getting too close to power lines.

To help you decide which tree or shrub is right for your yard, here are a few suggestions.

Small Trees

The following small-growing trees (no larger than 25 feet) are adaptable to the Carolinas and can be planted directly underneath power lines with a minimum of later pruning:

  • Crepe Myrtle
  • Flowering Crabapples
  • Dogwoods
  • Redbud
  • Saucer Magnolia


Medium Trees

The following medium-sized trees (maturing to 25 to 40 feet) can be planted at least 20 feet from distribution power lines:

  • Flowering Yoshino Cherry
  • Littleleaf Linden
  • Bradford Callery Pear
  • American Hornbeam


Large Trees

Be careful as you plan to visualize the tree at its full size. Large trees, such as oaks, often spread out considerably as they grow. Plant the saplings of large-growing species (maturing to 40 feet or more) at least 40 feet from distribution power lines to avoid future pruning problems:

  • Willow Oak
  • Red Oak
  • White Oak
  • Sugar Maple
  • Red Maple
  • Southern Magnolia
  • Gingko



Selecting and positioning shrubs is not nearly as difficult as planning for trees. In most cases, shrubs will never grow to affect power lines.

However, we need to keep as much open space as possible around pad-mounted transformers (the rectangular green boxes located near property lines). Thatís why we encourage you not to plant any type of vegetation other than grass within ten feet of the opening side of the box (where the padlock is located). This open space is needed so we can get inside to perform repairs and maintenance.