CMP urges property owners: Plan before you plant

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AUGUSTA, Maine -- Central Maine Power, a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA, is observing Arbor Week (May 18-22) by distributing more than 5,000 free seedlings to schools and community organizations throughout its 11,000-square-mile service area.

The utility applauds efforts of people throughout Maine who are observing Arbor Week with a broad range of tree-planting activities. Trees add beauty to the landscape, help clean the air, and provide shade and animal habitat.

But trees can also interfere with power lines, disrupting electric service and even posing safety hazards, so the utility urges people to "plan before they plant."

"Keeping trees away from power lines enhances safe, reliable service, so our tree crews prune along almost 4,800 miles of lines each year, " says Tom Irwin, head of Vegetation Management for CMP. "As an arborist, I know the best way to have healthy trees and reliable service is by choosing the right trees for your location."

Proper selection and placement of trees near overhead power lines can eliminate potential hazards and improve the appearance of your property. CMP encourages people who would like to plant a tree in observance of Arbor Week to "plan before you plant," and offers the following tips:

  • Before planting, look around the area for power lines and other hazards, and keep in mind that today's sapling will eventually grow into a mature tree many times its current size.
  • Avoid planting trees directly underneath power lines or too close to electric facilities -- along with minimizing the chance of power interruption, this keeps you and the public safe.
  • Trees like white pine, maple, ash, fir, and spruce that will be 60 feet or taller when mature should be planted no closer than 60 feet from the nearest power line.
  • Trees like crabapple, juniper, and dogwood that will be no more than 20 feet tall at maturity may be planted as close as 15 feet from the power line.
  • If plantings must go beneath lines, consider shrubs such as common lilac and burning bush or dwarf trees that will not grow up into the lines.

"Your local tree nursery can give lots of helpful advice on the types of trees or shrubs appropriate for particular sites and growing conditions," adds Irwin.

Seedlings are being distributed to schools and community organizations in the following cities and towns:

Albion, Anson, Belfast, Brooks, Brunswick, Cushing, Falmouth, Farmington, Gray, Guilford, Litchfield, New Gloucester, North Anson, Owls Head, Saco, Sanford, Searsmont, Solon, Thomaston, Topsham, Troy, Turner, Westbrook, and Yarmouth.

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