Empowering Communities

What to Know Before You Grow

April 18, 2017

Trees are one of nature’s hallmark features. Trees can provide multiple benefits to a home or community when properly planted and maintained. Trees can help to improve the look and value of a property. They can help reduce home cooling costs, clean the air and provide homes to wildlife, among many other benefits.

But before you make a decision to plant a tree, the first step is to think carefully about what type of tree you want and where you want to plant it.

Here are a few tips to help guide you in your quest for the perfect tree for your yard.

Before you purchase a tree, you should go to your yard and look up, around and down.

Look Up and Around

If you have power lines in your yard, a smaller tree is your best choice. Select a tree that will grow no taller than 25 feet at maturity and plant it at least 20 feet from your electrical poles. Smaller trees won’t grow high and wide enough to tangle in your power lines and cause outages. In addition, smaller trees don’t require major trimming.

Some recommended trees include the Ann Magnolia, Allegheny Serviceberry American Hornbeam and Eastern Redbud. For more information, check out “The Power of Smart Planting” guidebook which ComEd developed with the Morton Arboretum.

If you select a tree that will grow more than 25 feet, you should plant it at least 50 feet from all power lines. If your backyard has high-voltage power lines, you should select trees that grow no taller than 10 feet.

For your safety, you should never try to trim trees that are located near power lines without taking necessary precautions first. Contact ComEd for assistance; we’ll be happy to identify the different power lines and advise as to the safest way to achieve your tree trimming goals.

While ComEd does not perform non-emergency tree trimming for the wire running directly to customers’ meters (the service wire), sometimes property owners desire to prune branches or remove trees that are near this wire. You can contact ComEd to request that we de-energize your service wire while you or a qualified contractor completes any tree trimming. Please note that your home will be without power during that time and your service line will need to be re-connected. Please call us at 1-800-EDISON-1 and a ComEd representative will contact you as soon as possible to schedule the date and time of this free service. Visit ComEd.com for more information.

Look Down

Look down, because you need to know what’s below before you dig. Before you put shovel to ground, dial 811 to have all of your utility-owned underground lines marked.

Calling 811 connects you to JULIE (Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators) which will notify all member utilities, like ComEd, of your plan to dig. The utilities will then visit your property to mark the underground facilities. In the city of Chicago, customers can call 312-744-7000 to reach Digger, Chicago’s JULIE program.

A little research can go a long way. These are just a few simple tips that can help you decide what type of tree you may want to plant on your property. Maybe you’re thinking about a simple layout for your landscape, or maybe you’re just hoping to add some shade to your driveway or backyard? Whatever the reason, trees are a beautiful addition to any landscape and the benefits of their shade from the sun or protection from the wind can continue for many seasons.

For more information, watch The Power of Smart Planting video:

Happy Planting!