Growing best practices with the Spokane Arena

While the Spokane Arena is making many important upgrades, there’s one that’s a highlight for Spokane’s urban canopy. This spring, the Ash trees on Boone Avenue will be replaced with a much more utility-friendly species.

Ash trees are popular because of their colorful leaves and they can grow quickly. When young, it looks like there’s plenty of room to plant them near or beneath power lines, but at maturity, they can reach a height and crown width of 40 – 50 feet.

As a result, many power outages occur as uprooted trees or branches fall onto power lines during storms. To ensure our system is safe and reliable, Avista must routinely prune or remove trees that become a risk of interrupting essential community services.

“We work hard to balance the health of trees and your reliable service,” said Ben Kappen, Avista’s vegetation management administrator. “Ash trees require a lot of aggressive pruning because they grow so quickly. Over time, repeated pruning stresses and deforms the trees.”

Large trees also have large root systems. As these Ash trees have grown over the years, the roots have pushed up the sidewalk in several locations which has created a safety hazard. It’s time to replace them with a utility-friendly species.

Trees planted within 20 feet of a power pole should grow no taller than 25 feet high. Utility-friendly trees are free to grow to their full potential – no pruning required. This is great for the urban canopy and for energy reliability.

“Although we aren’t happy to see the Ash trees go, replacing them is the best option,” said Kappen. “Plus, planting the right tree in the right place saves time, money, and branches won’t have to fight for space with power lines. That’s good for everybody.”

The Ash trees will be removed this week and donated to a nonprofit. Beautiful utility-friendly replacements are on the way this spring.

Learn more about Right Tree Right Place.

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