Look up and down before planting a tree. Your safety is paramount, and you want your tree to have long life without the possibility of removal or severe pruning because of obstruction of utility lines.
Overhead utility lines are easy to spot yet often overlooked. Planting tall-growing trees under or near these lines eventually requires your utility provider to prune them to maintain safe clearance from the wires. This pruning may result in the tree having an unnatural appearance. Periodic pruning also can lead to a shortened life for the tree.
Tall-growing trees near overhead lines can cause service interruptions if limbs fall across wires and can be dangerous if people climb the trees and come in contact with the wires.
A tree’s root area below ground may be larger than the branch spread. Because many utilities run below ground, the greatest danger occurs during planting.
To be certain you do not accidentally dig into lines and are injured or a have a costly service interruption, call your utility company or utility locator service first. Never assume that utility lines are buried deeper than you plan to dig. Call 8-1-1 first.
Source: International Society of Arboriculture, treesaregood.org