Member newsletter for Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative

Plant the right tree in the right place

Fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs. Consider electric equipment near your home and the future of your plantings.

Planting for the future
Trees are a major cause of power interruptions for SMECO members. We devote many resources to Vegetation Management on SMECO rights-of-way.

When carefully selected and placed, a tree can provide your family with many years of enjoyment without threatening your electric service.

  • At its mature height, a tree planted under or too close to a power line may create costly trimming and maintenance work for you and SMECO to prevent trees from contacting power lines.
  • Like all pieces of equipment, the transformer may need repairs at one time or another, and SMECO crews will need access. To prevent your plants from being removed, please place them at least 10 feet away from the transformer.

Picking the right tree
Good tree placement and landscaping can enhance your property’s value, prevent costly maintenance, or damage to your home, and can even help lower energy bills.

  • Large trees should be planted at least 75 feet away from SMECO lines to avoid interference with electric utilities.
  • When planting, consider the view, your neighbor’s view, the location of flower or vegetable gardens, and conditions, such as drainage, soil type, and sunlight penetration.
  • Windbreaks should be evergreens planted on the west or north side of the house, about 100 to 150 feet and no more than 300 feet from the house.
  • Deciduous trees planted on the south or west side of the house will provide shade in the summer to cool the house and allow warmth from the sun to enter in the winter.

Always call 811 before you dig to locate buried utility lines. SMECO will mark the location of underground power lines on your property. If you have questions, call SMECO or visit