Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Trees for Planting Under Power Lines

Trees and power lines can often be a disastrous combination, so University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) researchers have developed a list of small trees that have shown to be well-suited for planting below power lines.

The research was conducted by Ed Gilman, professor of environmental horticulture, and included more than 70 small trees like crape myrtle, bottlebrush, holly, and others that were thought to be compatible with urban structures such as overhead power lines, streetlights, and sidewalks. The study was co-sponsored by the Florida Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry.

Power companies regularly prune to reduce electric outages caused by interfering trees. Planting small trees near power lines reduces pruning needs. Recent Florida legislation mandates that only small trees can be planted in utility rights-of-way, but there are few tests evaluating small trees.

For UF/IFAS’ complete, regional list of suitable trees for planting below power lines, see http://treesandpowerlines.ifas.ufl.edu/.

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