Right Tree, Right Place
In Texas, with mild weather and stores already stocked with plants, trees, mulch and soil, it is obvious that spring is here.
As we begin our right-of-way work for 2017, we know members are taking advantage of this weather and preparing for spring planting. But before you line your property with lush trees and Texas-tolerant vegetation, remember to be mindful where you plant. While trees and other plants add beauty and shade to your property, if planted in Medina EC’s right-of-way, they may cause problems in the future.
"Right-of-way" generally refers to the 40-foot-wide strip of land underneath or around power lines that Medina EC maintains and clears. It also refers to areas used to access power lines and equipment.
As you are getting your garden gloves and shovels ready, keep these planting tips in mind:
- Species and location matter
When you plant, choose the right species and shrubs, and the right location. This can prevent vegetation from being trimmed or removed later.
- Mature size matters
Think about how tall the vegetation will grow and how wide the branches will spread when the plant is mature. As a rule of thumb, 25 feet of ground-to-sky clearance should be available on each side of the power lines to give plenty of space.
- Call before you dig
Regardless of where you choose to plant your vegetation, always remember to call 811 at least three business days before you dig to have underground utilities marked for free.
In 2014, an assessment of the vegetation in and around Medina EC’s electric system was performed. A customized seven-year vegetation management plan based on the geography and vegetation in our area was implemented with board approval. This plan helps the cooperative decide where vegetation management work needs to be done first.
Tree pruning and brush clearing is an important part of the service that the cooperative provides to members for three reasons: safety, reliability and cost. Properly maintained rights-of-way keep crews safe when they are restoring service and also keeps members safe. If a tree makes contact with power lines, it becomes a potential point of electrical contact for anyone who climbs or touches that tree, and it could also cause power outages. Over time, if right-of-ways aren’t maintained like they should be, they can cost the cooperative (and its members) money.