KEYS will host its 21st Tree Giveaway in the Spring of 2024. The giveaway will be on a first-come, first-serve basis for all KEYS customers, who will have their choice of two free native shade trees while supplies last.
KEYS’ Tree Giveaway began in 1994 as part of a nationwide public power program called TREE POWER sponsored by the American Public Power Association (APPA). The national goal is to plant one tree for every public power customer for a total of 16-million trees. KEYS received the Golden Tree Award from the APPA for reaching its goal of planting more than 27,500 trees, or one for every customer it serves, in 2004. To-date, KEYS has given away over 40,000 native shade trees to its customers to help them offset energy costs by harnessing the shade such trees provide to cool their homes.
Tree Planting & Trimming Suggestions
Tree Planting Suggestions To Prevent Outages:
By selecting the Right Tree and planting in the Right Place, you can help reduce power outages and flickers for you and your neighbors. Here are five simple steps to smart landscaping:
1. Find the Right Tree – Trees come in all shapes and sizes, and often change dramatically over their lifetimes. Some grow tall, some grow wide and some have extensive root systems. Before selecting your tree, make sure you know how tall, wide and deep it will be at maturity. For lists of recommended trees for your region of Florida, please visit the University of Florida’s “Trees and Power Lines” website.
2. Choose the Right Spot – Where you plant your tree is just as important as what type of tree you plant. Blocking an unsightly view or creating some shade may be a priority, but you must also think about how your tree will impact existing utility lines as it grows taller, wider and deeper. At maturity, will its canopy reach the overhead lines? Taking the time to consider location now can prevent avoidable power disturbances for years to come.
3. Call Before You Dig – What you can’t see can hurt you, so before you reach for a shovel, reach for the phone. Did you know that a free call to Sunshine 811 will start the process of getting underground utility lines marked? Simply dial 811 at least two full business days before you plan to start digging and a representative will come out to your house or business and clearly mark the location of all underground utilities. This is a free service. You can also submit your request online at www.Sunshine811.com.
4. Plan for Future Growth – By planting the Right Tree in the Right Place, you’re doing your part to prevent power outages and flickers in your neighborhood. Tall trees growing under or near power lines will ultimately require pruning or removal by KEYS to maintain safe clearance from the lines. KEYS specially trained line-clearing professionals will remove threatening branches using directional pruning to protect the health of your trees while helping them to grow away from power lines. Planting the Right Tree in the Right Place can prevent the need for this pruning. Remember, you should never attempt to trim any vegetation growing on or near power lines.
5. Work Safely and Hire Safely – Whether you’re planting a tree, preparing your property for storm season or picking fruit, remember to stay safe and stay far away from power lines at all times. Always look up and note the location of power lines before you begin. Careful avoidance of power lines is extremely important during yard work, especially when using tools, ladders, poles or pruning saws. Be sure that ladders or scaffolds are far enough away so that you – and the ends of the tools you’re using – don’t come within 10 feet of power lines. (Please note that you must allow even greater distance for safety near higher voltage power lines.)
Never attempt to trim any vegetation growing near power lines. Only specially trained line-clearing professionals should work around power lines. When hiring landscapers or yard workers to trim your trees, remember to ask if they are licensed, insured and qualified to trim vegetation around power lines.
The number one cause of power outages in the Lower Keys is the result of tree limbs intruding on electrical lines. Keeping trees trimmed away from electrical lines helps KEYS provide reliable electricity to all customers. When digging holes for trees and other items on your property please ensure there are no buried lines by calling 811.
If any tree limbs are intruding on electrical lines, do not attempt to trim them yourself. Instead, call KEYS so a trained tree trimmer can safely trim the limbs away from electrical lines – free of charge. You may call KEYS at (305) 295-1010 to submit a tree trimming request, or submit your tree trimming request online.
For additional information about landscaping in the Florida Keys, view a ‘Florida Keys Newcomers Guide To Landscaping’ from the Monroe County Extension Service.
Tree Planting Suggestions For Conservation:
While money does not grow on trees, trees can save you money by shading your home from the Florida Keys’ hot sun.
The most effective way to reduce your cooling costs is to shade your home’s air conditioning unit. Next, plant shade trees to block the sun’s warming rays. Target sidewalls on the western, eastern and southern exposures to provide shade during Florida’s warm months. Since windows provide the most direct entry for heat into your home, you will want trees to shade your windows too.
Plant trees based on how they will look when fully grown. The closer the tree is planted to the house, the longer your home will remain shaded during the day; however, be careful not to plant trees too close to your home as roots can damage your foundation and falling limbs can damage your roof. You can also plant shrubs close to your walls to keep wall temperatures down and your home cooler.
Trees may loose their beautiful shape after trimming. The best idea is to prevent the need for trimming. When you purchase or acquire a tree, KEYS recommends you ask how tall it will be when mature in order to help determine where you will plant it. A general rule to follow is:
- If the mature tree will grow to 20 feet, the tree can be planted within 10 feet of power lines.
- If the mature tree will grow to 20 to 40 feet, plant the tree a minimum of 20 to 30 feet from power lines.
- If the mature tree will grow taller than 40 feet, plant the tree a minimum of 40 feet or more from power lines.