Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is kicking off California Arbor Week (March 7-14) by unveiling its new comprehensive web resource for its customers and communities that includes rules, tips and guides for planting trees safely near electric and gas lines.
The Right Tree, Right Place web resource can be found at pge.com/righttreerightplace and includes free downloadable brochures on how to plant with fire safety in mind and creating defensible space.
“Trees play a vital role in our environment and make California a beautiful place to live, work recreate. They also need space to grow both above and below ground. Planting the right tree in the right place helps promote fire safety, reduces power outages, provides shade benefits, enhances property values and ensures beauty for years to come,” said Michael Ritter, Senior Director of Vegetation Management. “If the right tree is not planted in the right place and too close to power and gas lines, it can create public safety issues and power outages.”
Using the free safety guides, customers can learn which trees are safe to plant near electric and gas lines, and in which regions; information on what to do before planting; how to plant and care for a tree; characteristics of recommended small trees and more. For example, residents and business should always call 8-1-1 at least two days before landscaping or planting trees to have underground lines and other utilities marked to ensure safe digging.
Before planting trees near overhead lines, it’s also recommended to know if you live in an area of increased fire risk by visiting the California Public Utilities Commission’s High Fire-Threat District (HFTD) map.
If the property is outside a HFTD, any trees that can grow taller than 25 feet at maturity should be planted at least 50 feet away from power lines.
If the property is within a HFTD, follow safety clearances of the following zones, which are categorized by the horizontal distance between power lines and desired plant:
- Small zone: Within 15 feet away from the power line easement (along the ground), plant only low-growing plants less than 12 inches at maturity that have high moisture, and low sap or resin content.
- Medium zone: From 15 to 50 feet away from the power line easement, plant trees that reach no taller than 40 feet at maturity.
- Tall zone: At least 50 feet away from the power line easement, trees that grow taller than 40 feet at maturity are acceptable.
PG&E reminds its customers and the communities in Central and Northern California that everyone can do their part to help reduce wildfire risks by choosing the right plants, trees and shrubs and by following vegetation and fire safety standards that require greater clearances between trees, limbs and power lines.