Lisa Explains: Planting the right tree in the right place

When I bought my house a few years ago, some of the things I really loved about it were two giant maple trees in my front yard. I have a red and a green one.

I’m quite sure someone planted them about the time my house was built around 1910. Back then, they probably weren’t thinking about making sure the trees weren’t going to grow so large they interfere with power lines. Luckily, the power lines are across the street from my house.

But it gets me thinking. If I wanted to plant more trees in my yard, where should I put them? Since the shade of trees can improve your energy efficiency during the summer months, and some trees can interfere with power lines, Avista has this handy guide I found online.

If you are thinking about planting near a power line, choose a tree that won’t grow taller than 25 feet. This is called a small zone.

The medium zone is in between 20 and 50 feet away from a power line and the trees should be no taller than 40 feet. Trees that will grow taller than 40 feet should be planted in the tall zone, which is more than 50 feet away from the power line.

Assume the roots of your tree will be at least far and wide underground as they are above ground.

You are going to want to avoid planting and digging too close to any underground utilities, too. Always make sure you call 811 at least three days before you plan to dig.

Lisa, an Avista customer, bought her 1910 house because she loved the old-world character, some of which doesn’t make her house very energy efficient.  Over the last two years, Lisa shared her experience on taking some simple do-it-yourself improvements to inspire others. Now, she’s highlighting helpful information you can find on the Avista website.

You can find more information about the what trees can do to your power lines at

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  1. Lisa Explains
  2. Energy Saving