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The Best Trees to Plant Under Power Lines

Many homeowners have to deal with power lines cutting across their property. While trees liven up a barren lawn, some of those trees grow too tall and tangle into the lines, while others are planted too closely and could topple the lines in a storm. Taking into consideration the sizes, growth patterns and planting needs of trees, the University of Tennessee's Agricultural Extension has noted some trees that are suitable for usage under power lines.

Japanese Maple

The Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) is from the Aceraceae family. It will get 15 to 25 feet tall with leaves 2 to 5 inches long and medium green. It is a slow grower. Leaves turn shades of red, orange, yellow, and purple in the fall. Flowers are small and come in May to June, with red or purple blooms. Plant a Japanese maple in full sun to partial shade in moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Propagate via seed, graftings and softwood stem cuttings.


The smoketree (Cotinus coggygria) is from the Anacardiaceae family. It will get 12 to 15 feet tall with leaves 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches long and bluish green. It can be single or multi-stemmed. Fall leaves are red, orange and yellow. Flowers are in June, small and yellowish-green. Plant a smoketree in full sun in any soil. Propagate via seed or cuttings.

Eastern Redbud

The Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) is from the Leguminosae family. It will get 20 to 30 feet tall with bright green leaves, heart shaped and 3 to 5 inches long. Fall will have yellow green foliage. Flowers are small, pink to purple, and will bloom April to May. Fruit comes in 2 to 3 inch long pods. Plant an Eastern redbud in full sun to light shade, in moist, well-drained soil. Propagate via seed or grafting.

Common Lilac

The common lilac (Syringa vulgaris) is from the Oleaceae family. It is a deciduous shrub or small tree, 8 to 15 feet tall, with a moderate growth rate. Leaves are 2 to 5 inches long and dark green. Flowers are fragrant lilac blooms that come in May. Plant a common lilac in full sun in well-drained, slightly acidic soil with good pruning. Propagate via seed and cuttings.

Star Magnolia

The star magnolia (Magnolia stellata) is from the Magnoliaceae family. It is a deciduous tree, 15 to 20 feet tall, and multi-stemmed. Leaves are 2 to 4 inches long and medium to dark green. Flowers are white to pinkish, 3 to 4 inches wide, and lightly fragrant. Plant a star magnolia in moist fertile soil in full sun. Propagate via cuttings and seed.

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