Power Lines and Planting Trees: The Full Guide to Safety and Prosperous Plants

It is good to be a live wire. It is not good to live near a live wire.

Power lines can fall at any moment, electrocuting someone standing up to 35 feet away. They can start fires and destroy property in the blink of an eye.

Trees can tear down wires, or wires can burn them down. Many homeowners have questions when they start planting trees near their homes.

It is essential to understand how you can plant and maintain a tree while staying safe at the same time. Here is a quick guide.

Trees You Can Plant

The best trees to plant near or under a power line are small trees. Magnolia trees provide beautiful flowers in the fall without growing to a height that endangers power lines. Red Buckeyes and Eastern Redbuds bloom rich greens, reds, and pinks.

Shrubs are another type of small tree. If you want a visual break between yourself and your neighbors, then shrubs are the right choice. Bottlebrush Buckeyes create white flowers in July and golden yellows in the fall.

Road salt can stymy the growth of small trees. Forsythia and Northern Bayberry are two kinds of shrubs that resist salt.

You should avoid planting anything directly under a power line. Objects can fall from the line and crush your plants, including the lines themselves.

Taller trees create shade and offer rich browns and greens. If you want to plant tall trees, you can. It would be best if you were careful.

How to Plant a Tree Next to a Power Line

If you want a tree within 15 feet of a power line, you need a small tree or shrub. Plant your trees as far from the power line as possible. You can plant, water, and maintain them with minimal worry.

If you want a taller tree, you will need to set it back. If you are within 30 feet of a power line, keep your tree under 36 feet. Most varieties of trees fall under 36 feet, so you can pick the tree that you like.

You can grow any tree you like if you’re beyond 30 feet from a power line. Very few trees can spread 30 feet or more.

Before planting a tree, contact your local authorities. You should locate your gas, electric, and telephone lines. Plant your tree as far away from these lines as possible.

In the city of San Diego, you need a permitf to plant a Street Tree. If you live outside the city, or in North County San Diego, you may need a permit to plant in a protected area. Check your local ordinances and file all paperwork well in advance.

Pick a space that provides sunlight for your tree. Most varieties need direct sunlight, though some can grow in the shade.

When you are ready to plant, dig a shallow and broad hole. Remove any roots or plants that are within your hole. Plant your tree in, then pack the dirt close around your trunk.

Maintaining Trees Near a Power Line

Water your new trees multiple times a week. You may need more frequent watering during dry and hot months. Water the soil, so the soil settles firmly around the base of the tree.

When the tree is small enough, prune dead and crossing branches. If you’re concerned about how wide your tree is growing, remove your tree right away. You can start again once you move farther away from the line.

Once your tree has grown to full height, contact a company to prune and maintain it. If your tree has branches hanging over a line or leaning toward a line, hire a pruning service immediately. Do not prune branches near a power line.

Do not climb a tree if it is near a power line since you can fall onto the line. Do not prop a ladder against a utility pole.

The company you hire may ask the utility provider to shut the power off. Consult with your company, and be prepared to live without power for a few hours. While they are pruning your tree, remain inside to avoid injury.

Tree and Power Line Safety

If a power line falls onto your tree, do not remove it. Please leave it in the tree and call 911.

Tell the emergency responder what happened and where you are. Remain inside and do not go out, even if you are far away from the fallen line.

If a branch falls on a power line, do not go near it. Call 911 and tell them what happened. Even if you think the line is not powered, do not go near it.

Telephone and cable lines have insulation, but they can still produce painful shocks. If they contact your tree, call your company to have them removed.

To avoid fires, remove dry branches and shrubs around your tree. If your tree catches on fire, call 911 and evacuate the area. Do not put the fire out if the fire is too big.

Most trees can live for decades. Signs that your tree is dying include mushrooms growing at its base and splitting branches. If your tree is dying, contact a maintenance service.

Get Help Planting Trees Near Power Lines

Planting trees is a great way to help the environment. But you run risks when you plant trees near power lines.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to remain safe. If you are very close to lines, plant short trees and shrubs. Do not plant directly under the lines. If you are within 30 feet of power lines, keep your trees within 36 feet.

When planting, avoid contacting electric lines and pipes underground. Do not prune your trees when they are near a line. You should avoid all power lines and contact services when your tree touches the lines.

Get the help you need to maintain your trees. Tree Barber Enterprises features premium services to maintain the trees of North County San Diego. Contact us today or call us at 760-239-7540.

Recognized as a top tree care company, Tree Barber Enterprises serves thousands of residential customers in North County San Diego. Our Certified Arborist and Certified Tree Workers are highly skilled and extensively trained in the latest arboriculture techniques, enabling us to perform our tasks quickly, safely, and economically.