It’s been said that the best time to plant a tree is yesterday – and the second best time is today.
When we plant a tree, we’re putting down roots that help communities become more sustainable. And we’re leaving a legacy for future generations, while creating healthy and beautiful communities that make a difference today.
Planning Where You Plant
Before you plant a tree, get the facts. Find out how the tree will look in 5, 10 or even 50 years. Knowing the height the tree will reach at maturity can help you make smart decisions now. Carefully planted trees stay clear of power lines while retaining their natural beauty.
Trees with a mature height of 20 feet or less fit comfortably under power lines. It is unlikely they will ever need trimming to protect public safety and electric reliability. Trees with mature heights of 30 to 40 feet should be set at least 15 to 20 feet from the outside of a power pole.
Trees that grow taller than 40 feet should be planted more than 35 feet from the home and far enough to give power lines a wide berth.
Call 811 at least two working days before you dig for identification of underground pipelines.
Trees should not be planted within 25 feet of a natural gas transmission line. To find out more about planting trees along a gas pipeline, click here.
Download our guide for planting trees in Montana.
The Many Benefits of Trees
Trees provide many economic, social and environmental benefits. They generate oxygen, aid in air pollution control, recycle water and reduce soil erosion.
“In laboratory research, visual exposure to settings with trees has produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes, as indicated by changes in blood pressure and muscle tension.” — Dr. Roger S. Ulrich, Texas A&M University
Rain, sleet and hail can be partially absorbed or deflected by trees, providing some protection for people and buildings. Trees intercept water and store some of it. They also reduce storm runoff and possible flooding.
According to the USDA, one acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen.
Trees around a home can help increase property values by 10 to 20 percent.
Trees help improve air quality. Leaves filter by removing dust and other particulates.
The presence of trees stimulates retail and commercial businesses, as well as tourism.
Tree Trimming Essentials
Trimming trees is the homeowner’s responsibility. However, before you trim a tree near a power
line, call us at (888) 467-2669 in MT and (800) 245-6977 in SD. We’ll stop by to make sure it’s safe – or we may trim it for you. Our main concern is your safety. NorthWestern Energy’s tree trimming guidelines reflect the recommendations of experts. The two primary methods are:
- Drop Crotching or V Pruning, used whenever feasible to retain as much of the natural shape of the tree as possible. This method thins the tree by removing unnecessary branches from the middle.
- Directional Trimming involves leaving branches that grow away from power lines in place while removing branches that grow toward the lines. All cuts are at tree nodes, the location where tree branches naturally shed.
Proper trimming will maintain the tree’s health because fewer cuts are used and the ones made are located near the branch base or collar to facilitate rapid healing.
Trees – the Original Energy Savers
A well-designed landscape can reduce your heating and cooling costs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, on average, landscaping for energy efficiency provides enough energy savings to return an initial investment in less than eight years.
Deciduous trees planted on the south and west sides of your home will keep your house cool in the summer and save up to 25% of the energy used to cool your home.
Plant trees, bushes and shrubs together on the north side of your home to serve as a windbreak. The USDA Forest Service estimates that properly placed trees can save
20-50 percent in energy used for heating.
Download our tree planting tips here.