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Mr. Smarty Plants - Replacement evergreens under power line in Wisconsin

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Thursday - April 11, 2013

From: Kenosha, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Trees
Title: Replacement evergreens under power line in Wisconsin
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have to replace evergreen trees in a privacy screen due to borer damage. The screen is below power lines so the replacements cannot be tall. I would like use bird and pollinator friendly replacements that are evergreens. I am in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The soil is good with no drainage issues. Thank you

ANSWER:

MGE (Madison Gas & Electric) has a brochure, Power Planting—How to Select and Plant Trees Near Power Lines, with guidelines for planting trees near and under power lines.  The brochure gives recommendations for various trees; but you should be aware that many of their recomendations are NOT native plants.  However, under their "Evergreens", they have recommendations for two Wisconsin native trees with information about several smaller cultivars for each.

MGE also has a Tree Choice and Care page where you can search for trees native to Wisconsin that are evergreen.  On the "Advanced Search" page I selected Tree Names and Cultivars, Evergreen, and Native to WI.  For the other choices I left it at "Any" except for Sun where I selected "Full Sun, Partial Shade and Shade" and Plant Type, "Trees and Shrubs".  Here are the other trees, in addtion to Eastern red cedar and arborvitae, that resulted from the search:

You can do a similar search in our Native Plant Database using COMBINATION SEARCH and choosing "Wisconsin" from Select State or Province, "Tree" from Habit (general appearance) and "Evergreen" from Leaf Characteristics.  This will give you several other choices that are either very large, slow-growing trees with few (or no) dwarf varieites available and one—Juniperus communis (Common juniper)—low-growing variety.  There is also one tree that is not a Gymnosperm, Maclura pomifera (Osage orange).  It now grows in southern Wisconsin but probably originated in Arkansas and/or Texas and is not really a good candidate for your screening hedge.

All the trees suggested above are Gymosperms and, as such, are non-flowering plants that are typically wind pollinated.   Birds, however, are attracted to them for their cones for food and for shelter in their branches.  Eastern hemlock also is described as attracting butterflies and moths.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern red cedar
Juniperus virginiana

Arborvitae
Thuja occidentalis

Eastern hemlock
Tsuga canadensis

Eastern white pine
Pinus strobus

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