Planting Near Utilities Is Delicate Stuff

planting.near.utilities1Call Before You Dig

How many of you have seen that “tag-line” before?  Call before you dig! The utility companies have it all over their media and trucks. Essentially what it means is, if you’re  planning on doing any digging on your property, call this universal number (811) from anywhere in the country (US…but no doubt other countries have a similar service), and the respective utility companies will send someone out to locate and “mark-out” where their underground utilities are on the property. There is no charge for this service.

planting.near.utilities2This is the best free deal around and it not only helps protect you from getting electrocuted and/or blown-up, but it could also help your position (liability) in the event an accident should happen.  Know that you can be fined and charged for repairs in some instances.

On this project there was an existing maple tree near the utility boxes (can you say “Root City”).  Oh yeah, and there were numerous stumps from old junipers that someone had cut flush to the ground.  Your mission: to install new plants to screen the  utility boxes.

planting.near.utilities3Speed Kills

This experienced landscape company knew from the beginning what was involved. The estimate for the job reflected the extra care and time these few new installs would take.  This was not the time to bring out the backhoe and bang this job out.

After the utility companies had marked-out their underground lines with paint and flags, the landscape contractor positioned the new plants on the ground.

planting.near.utilities4One by one each hole was worked on. Only conventional hand tools were used.  Slowly and carefully roots and stumps were exposed, cut and removed.  This, as you would expect, was the most time consuming aspect of the job. Eventually all four plants were installed, the area graded with top soil, mulch was spread to define the planting bed, and a shade blend of seed was sown to renovate the nearby lawn.

You have to laugh when you think about the amount of plants you could have installed in that time on another site where roots, stumps and utilities were not part of the equation.  Every project has its own unique and often unknown characteristics.  Don’t let underground utilities be one of them…call 811 before you dig.

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