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small brandlPlanting Trees Near Gas Pipelines


Utilities are particularly interested in where and how trees are planted. In addition to ensuring your trees will not grow into overhead power lines, you should not plant closer than 25 feet from any natural gas transmission line.

When planting a tree, here's what you need to know.

  • NorthWestern Energy applies a protective coating to steel pipelines and adds a small amount of direct current to mitigate corrosion. Tree roots are attracted to the loosened soil of the pipeline ditch and to the typically constant temperature created by the moving gas. Tree roots can damage the coating and come in contact with the steel. Tree roots carry water and nutrients to the rest of the tree and for that reason are very good conductors of electricity. Risks associated with corrosion leaks and corrosion-related pipeline failures are significantly increased when the pipeline coating is damaged and the tree roots absorb the electric current necessary to stop corrosion.
  • Trees often hide pipeline markers and the corridor that reminds neighbors and contractors of a pipeline in the area. Keeping the pipeline right-of-way clear reduces the risks of third party damage and increases the safety of all.
  • No one wants to lose a tree after many years of growth. Pipelines need maintenance and may even need to be replaced. Trees growing in the pipeline right-of-way could be destroyed when these activities are required.

To assure that you are planting your new tree a good distance away from any buried pipes, make sure you Call Before You Dig. One simple call to 811 will get all underground pipelines identified. You should plan to leave any pipeline right-of-way clear.

Properly located, planted, and cared for, your tree should continue to stand for many years, providing shade on sunny days and generating oxygen for us all to breathe.


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