Dial 811 before you dig
The right landscaping can help save energy and enhance the beauty and value of your home. But you need to be mindful of where the overhead and underground utilities are before you plant or put a shovel in the ground. Contact with a utility line can be life threatening. So even if you are planting only a flower or vegetable garden, call to get a free utility locate at least two days before you dig. The ground grade may have changed since utilities were installed and lines may be closer than you think.
Small trees planted in the wrong place can have serious consequences when they mature. When their limbs come into contact with power lines, they can cause power outages, especially in times of high winds, or when loaded with snow and ice. Trees with mature heights up to 25 feet should not be planted closer than 15 feet to a power line; trees with heights up to 40 feet should not be planted within 25 feet. Roots are another consideration. In general, don't plant trees over or within 10 feet of an underground line. If maintenance on the line is required, you may lose the tree due to root damage. Trees downed with strong roots can pull up a utility line if they are intertwined.
No shrubs or trees should block access to any utility facility. They should be planted at least 10 feet away from all ground-mounted equipment, such as transformers and switch cabinets. Property owners are responsible for maintaining clearance year-round, so don't pile snow in front of or on top of electric equipment. Your outage time will be reduced if equipment is readily accessible.
ML&P regularly trims trees in rights-of-way that pose a threat to the electric service for you and your neighbors. Unless it is an emergency, we will contact you before trimming or removing a tree on your property. This gives you an opportunity to contact us before we begin.
Tips for Successful Planting
Remove vegetation and loosen the soil. The planting site should be a saucer-shaped area at least three times the diameter of the root ball but only as deep as the height of the root ball. Slope and roughen the sides of the site.
To help keep the root system moist, do not remove the container or burlap until you are ready to plant. Remove all twine and tags from the trunk. When ready to plant, remove or cut away the container, wire basket or burlap from the root ball. Separate and spread the roots.
Set tree in prepared site. The trunk flare or collar (just above the point where the roots begin to branch) must be above ground level. Planting too deeply can kill the tree.
Use soil from the planting site as backfill, but remove large rocks and loosen the compacted soil. Soak the planting thoroughly. Apply composted mulch two to four inches deep around the tree but at least six inches away from the trunk. Do not fertilize until the following spring.
Where to Plant What
In general, don't plant trees over or within 10 feet of an underground utility line.
The following are some of the more common hardy shrubs and trees recommended for Anchorage landscaping. (*Denotes deciduous trees; those that drop their leaves in the fall.)