Trees and Shrubs for Overhead Utility Easements

Bonnie Appleton, Extension Specialist, Virginia Tech; Susan French, Research Specialist, Virginia Tech; Brenda Johnson-Asnicar, Graduate Student, Hampton Roads AREC, Virginia Tech; Diane Relf, Horticulture, Virginia Tech; Susan Day, Forestry, Virginia Tech; Richard Nunnally, Chesterfield VCE; and Jon Vest, Roanoke VCE

Trees are valuable assets in commercial, private, and public landscapes. Trees add aesthetic beauty, modify and enhance the environment, serve architectural and engineering functions, and increase property and community economic values. These same trees that enhance landscapes, however, are a major challenge for utility companies. Most people have grown accustomed to reliable, uninterrupted electric, telephone and cable service in their homes and offices. Unfortunately, trees are one of the major causes of power outages in areas of overhead utility lines due to direct tree contact with lines, or to trees or tree limbs falling on the lines.

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