American Transmission Co.

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ATC’s Grow Smart Landscape Sweepstakes


About Grow Smart®

American Transmission Co.’s Grow Smart® program helps property owners and communities identify low-growing, beautiful vegetation that can be planted the smart way – a safe distance from transmission line rights-of-way. While trees and shrubs make great additions to most landscaping, they also can be an unsafe combination when grown within the electric transmission system right-of-way. A tree does not need to make direct contact with a transmission line to create a hazard or a dangerous situation. Tall-growing or other incompatible vegetation in a right‑of‑way can lead to wide‑spread power outages and threaten the reliability of the electric transmission system.

MelindaflowerTo help educate the public about the right kind of vegetation to plant, ATC introduced the Grow Smart program in 2012.This program includes extensive community and public outreach and features horticulturist and gardening expert Melinda Myers, who often explains Grow Smart like this, “It’s not difficult to create appropriate and beautiful landscaping within rights-of-ways. 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.”

To learn more about ATC’s Grow Smart® program, visit

Grow Smart® Sweepstakes

ATC introduced the Grow Smart Sweepstakes in 2016 as a way to continue educating the public about the Grow Smart Program. The sweepstakes targeted nearly 4,000 property owners with an ATC easement, who also had vegetation management performed by ATC on their property in 2015. Eligible households were notified through a postcard mailing in early 2016 that they could enter to win $5,000 in landscaping for their property, as well as a two-hour personal consultation with Melinda Myers to discuss ideas and visions for what could be done with the landscape (including compatible, low-growing species and other Grow Smart options). All those entering the sweepstakes also received a free Grow Smart kneeling garden pad.

And the winner is…

Maggie McCullough of Mount Calvary, Wis. was the lucky winner. Melinda Myers, and representatives from Stuart’s Landscaping & Garden Center of Fond du Lac, met with the Maggie and her husband Steve McCullough in July 2016 to discuss best practices and plantings for the area they wanted to focus on.

ATC Landscape Sweepstakes - 2016

The McCullough’s wanted to landscape an area close to their house that is common to many homes: a steep incline with an exposed, walkout basement. But they also wanted to make sure the landscaping was complementary to other areas on their property. Maggie explains, “We have 38-acres of land with a river, wetlands, a hill and woods. Around the house we’ve done a lot of naturalizing with perennials. We’ve tried to create a really good environment for the wildlife around here. In addition to the more formal perennial beds that are around the house, we also have two prairies on our land; one of which is actually underneath the power lines. It’s keeping with ATC’s philosophy of using the low-growing perennial plants and flowers. They’ll never get tall enough to create any problems with the power lines.”

While the McCullough’s had an idea of what they wanted, they needed a plan. Stuart’s Landscaping collaborated with the McCullough’s, Myers and ATC to develop a plan that featured terracing and native vegetation, similar to what is already integrated into the established prairie on the property.

“We’re really pleased with how this turned out,” said Maggie. “And ATC was pleased, too, because we’ve already implemented the Grow Smart strategies on our land.”

“One of the reasons I joined forces with ATC is that I really value their vision of growing ‘smart’ under utility lines,” said Myers. “But even if you don’t have utility lines, ATC encourages landowners to plant native plants. They’re helping support my efforts as a person who wants to help educate and inspire gardeners.”

Inquiries from the media regarding the sweepstakes can contact ATC at 877-506-6117.