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If you’ve ever planted a tree, then you know how important it is to know what’s under the ground before you start digging. Thankfully, there’s a number you can call to find out if your planting spot is a good one.

811 is the number to dial to find out if you can dig a hole deep enough to plant a tree.  It’s a federally designated number to inform the public of underground lines. You can also find out this information by going to Call811.com.  The information is free and is for public safety.

Places in the United States have become more and more crowded, and with construction being done all the time, it’s never been more important to check the ground for utility lines before digging.  Damage to these lines can cause serious damage to the environment, not to mention the financial penalties for destroying these lines. It’s extremely dangerous to dig without knowing what’s below, and hitting a line could cause injury or even death.

Here are the steps to take before you start digging.

  1. Plan it out.  Figure out exactly where you want to start digging and mark it off with white lines or flags.  Have all the details of the dig, such as who will be doing the digging, etc., before you call 811.
  2. Call 811.  Dialing 811 will connect you with the information about where to dig, and to put in a request to dig.
  3. Wait for marks.  After filing the request, wait for two to three business days for someone to come out and mark the different utility lines.
  4. Double check the marks.  It may be important for more than one expert to come out and check the marks.  Compare the marks to the list you were initially given when you first called to make sure they line up.  
  5. Dig carefully!  Once everything checks out, you’re set to dig, but use caution!  Be sure you know the root expansion expectation before you plant any tree to be sure it won’t cause future damage to any utility lines or foundations.

Planting a tree is is a wonderful thing to do for our environment, but it’s very important to call before you dig.