Planting Around Power Lines

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Trees and power lines don't mix. Jackson EMC's tree maintenance program works to maintain trees and vegetation around power lines and equipment.

Follow these tips to select power line-friendly trees:

  • Select the right tree to avoid pruning or possible tree removal.
  • Decide what you need from your tree – privacy screening, fall color or an ornamental or specimen tree.
  • Keep shrubs and structures at least 10 feet away from a pad-mounted transformer, so workers can safely maintain transformers. Never dig near a pad-mounted transformer because they are surrounded by underground power cables.
  • Research the height, width and shape of the tree before planting. Power lines are approximately 30 feet above the ground and require a clearance of 15 feet on both sides of power lines.

Plant the Right Tree in the Right Place

When a tree’s branches start to grow too close to power lines, or touch them, they create a potentially hazardous situation. To reduce the danger, you can plant the right tree in the right place that will enhance the surroundings, while allowing you to enjoy safe, reliable electric service.

  • Small trees: Avoid planting within 20 feet of power lines. When planting within 20 feet is unavoidable, use only shrubs and small trees. Height/spread of no more than 25 feet, such as: Star Magnolia, Crabapple, Lilac.
  • Medium trees: Plant at least 40 feet from power lines. Height/spread of 25-40 feet, such as: Washington Hawthorn, American Arborvitae, Eastern Redbud, Goldenraintree, Dogwoods.
  • Large trees: Plant at least 60 feet from power lines. Height/spread of more than 40 feet, such as: Maple, Birch, Sweetgum, Oak, Spruce, Pine, Linden, Leyland Cypress.

Learn more about tree planting and care from the National Arbor Day Foundation.