National Safety Month is a great opportunity to review IREA’s guidelines for placing vegetation and structures in and around our easements. If your landscaping project includes either, please consider the following:

• Carefully plan so that shrubbery, trees and any other vegetation will not grow to interfere with transformers, lines, poles or other equipment. Our field personnel often encounter situations in which it is difficult to access facilities due to overgrown vegetation. This can be especially problematic when our linemen are working to restore service during unexpected outages.

• Trees with a maximum mature height greater than 10 feet should not be planted within the right-of-way surrounding overhead distribution lines. You can, however, plant them 20 feet or farther from the line(s).

• Trees expected to grow taller than 15 feet should not be planted within the right-of-way surrounding overhead transmission lines. Trees with a maximum mature height of less than 15 feet can be planted beneath overhead transmission lines, but not near transmission structures.

• All trees should be planted at least 20 feet from distribution and transmission poles and structures.

• Shrubbery, ground cover and flowers can be planted up to the base of poles and structures, but may be destroyed during the operation and maintenance of power lines and equipment.

• Follow the same guidelines when building any structure – either permanent or temporary – near electric equipment or facilities. Sheds, gazebos, fences and similar structures should be placed outside IREA’s easement and should not impede access to meters, transformers and poles. As with vegetation, any structure within our easement could be damaged or destroyed if it blocks or hinders our field personnel.

IREA’s full guidelines for plant materials, which include approved tree species, are available here. You also can call us at (800) 332-9540 if you have additional questions regarding IREA’s easements and facilities.