Trees and shrubs are an important part of the landscape. But trees, shrubs and transmission lines can be an unsafe combination. Transmission lines can sway or sag, and tall or nearby vegetation can compromise the safety and reliability of the electric transmission system. Grow Smart helps property owners and communities identify low-growing, beautiful, native vegetation that can be planted the smart way – a safe distance from transmission line rights-of-way.
Since 2014, ATC has partnered with nationally known gardening expert, TV/radio host, author, columnist and speaker, Melinda Myers – who helps landowners learn about compatible vegetation near transmission lines.
“With proper planning and minimal care, you can create a four-season garden, filled with birds and butterflies that’s good for you and the environment – and won’t interfere with overhead transmission lines.”
– Melinda Myers, nationally known gardening expert, TV/radio host, author, columnist and speaker
Watch the guest appearance of Melinda Myers on WTMJ’s The Morning Blend, as she talks about what it means to Grow Smart near high-voltage transmission lines.
Need some gardening tips? Melinda provides weekly updates year-round – just click here.
Planting for pollinators
Low-growing perennials and grasses can grow and thrive within transmission line rights-of-way. ATC launched a pollinator program in 2017, which focuses on identifying and developing portions of our rights-of-way for pollinators following vegetation management or construction. ATC works with our environmental contractors to plant seed mixes that generate vegetation compatible within the rights-of-way that are beneficial to pollinators.
In collaboration with Melinda Myers, we have developed two guides to identify vegetation that is similar to what we plant in our rights-of-way. These suggested plants have deep root systems that will beautify your property and help attract bees, butterflies and birds. In addition, sustainable rights-of-way with compatible plant communities such as the ones we suggest also can help limit ATC’s long-term vegetation management program, which is needed to help keep the lines safe and reliable.
To learn about conserving energy for your home by planting the right tree in the right place, please visit the climate change section on the Arbor Day Foundation’s website.
Party for the Planet
In May 2014, ATC introduced attendees at the event to the Grow Smart program, featuring Melinda Myers. Each year since then, attendees learn about low-growing vegetation that’s compatible within transmission line rights-of-way by visiting our two interactive displays. Simultaneously, local cub scout and boy scout troops have helped zoo staff remove invasive species within the zoo’s urban forest and plant hundreds of native trees in replacement, all of which is funded by ATC. Check out the video on our YouTube channel that captured the 2014 tree plantings.
The ATC Pollinator Garden at the Milwaukee County Zoo is one of the interactive displays at the event that provides an opportunity for visitors to work alongside Melinda Myers to plant and maintain a garden that attracts bees, butterflies, birds and other pollinators. In this video on WTMJ’s The Morning Blend, Myers talks about the event, and this video captures the event highlights.
Community Planting Program
As an owner and operator of the area electric transmission system, it is our responsibility to keep trees and brush out of the rights-of-way of our power lines for safety and reliability reasons. While we can’t allow trees and brush in our rights-of-way, we understand that they are an important part of the community landscape.
Our Community Planting Program helps us support efforts to beautify communities in the ATC service area in a manner that is consistent with our safety and maintenance standards. Eligible cities, villages, towns, counties and tribes may apply for financial support for planting projects on public property within their community.
To qualify, communities must commit that all current and future planting plans and urban forestry activities near high-voltage electric transmission lines will comply with ATC’s maintenance standards. Priority is given to projects that promote safety and reliability of the transmission system by supporting right-of-way best management practices and keeping trees out of the right-of-way.
Applications will be accepted June 1 through Sept. 30 each year. Recipients will be selected by the end of the calendar year.