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‘Tree planting’ live primer planned

Users of the Grigsby Chapel greenway could soon be getting a lesson in tree-planting near overhead utility lines as they jog.

Farragut Municipal Planning Commission approved a utility line arboretum plan at its meeting Thursday, Nov. 18.

The plan calls for a stand of various trees to be planted on Town-owned property outside Weatherly Hills subdivision along the Grigsby Chapel Greenway.

The purpose?

To show Farragut residents how to properly plant trees near overhead utility lines and to avoid the sometimes haphazard chopping utilities are required to perform to keep their lines clear.

“It costs a lot of money to clear overhead utility lines ... and that cost is passed onto us as customers,” Assistant Community Development Director Mark Shipley told commissioners.

Trees touching overhead utility lines also can cause power outages, not to mention the often-ugly results of trimming trees back away from the lines.

“Sometimes you’ve really destroyed the point of planting the tree in the first place when it’s just mutilated,” Shipley said.

The arboretum project will show homeowners how to plant trees to avoid all of that.

Using guidelines from the Arbor Day Foundation that comply with LCUB standards, the arboretum outlines the small- and medium-height trees to plant within 50 feet of the overhead utility lines.

Tree planting on the project will be completed by the end of the year, Shipley said, and during the next few years, a small informational kiosk will be set up, along with tree-mounted labels for identification.

Within 20 feet of the utility lines, Shipley said small trees must be planted — trees that won’t grow tall enough to interfere with the lines.

At the arboretum, Shipley will plant witch hazel, serviceberry, sweet bay magnolia, white fringe tree, blackhaw viburnum and red buckeye.

None of those trees grows to a height of more than 20 feet.

Between 20 and 50 feet from the utility lines, medium-height trees can be planted. These trees range in height from 20 to 30 feet.

In the arboretum, Shipley will plant eastern redbud, “Winter King” hawthorne, American hornbeam and flowering dogwood.

The trees will be planted on about 500 feet of land.

“We wanted to keep it relatively compact so people would realize what they’re going through, but big enough to make an impact,” Shipley said.

“Hopefully it will do what it’s supposed to do,” he added.

Commissioner Ed Whiting moved to approve the plan. Commissioner Cindy Hollyfield seconded and the motion was unanimously approved with Commissioner Ron Rochelle absent.


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