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Planting the right tree in the right place


Trees can bring beauty to your landscaping plan and will cool your home in the summer and keep winter winds away. Fall is considered the perfect time to plant a tree, but do you know what trees to plant if you have power lines near your home?

Trees that grow too close to electric lines can create shock and fire hazards as well as power outages. When tree branches come in contact with power lines, they could cause an outage, a fire, or the wire could be torn down. Downed lines should be considered live and are especially dangerous.

When considering what trees to plant around your home, be sure to know what the mature height of the tree will be and proximity to utilities to avoid conflicts with power lines.

Guidelines to keep in mind when planting trees:

  • Small trees that mature to a height of no more than 20 feet can be planted 15 feet on either side of utility wires. This includes planting trees near the street, just so long as power lines are at least 25 feet above ground.
  • Trees with mature heights between 20 feet and 50 feet should be planted a minimum of 35 feet away from power lines.
  • Trees with a mature height of more than 50 feet should be planted at least 50 feet from power lines.

When in doubt, speak to your local nursery about how big your tree will grow. In addition, keep areas around electric meters, transformers or other electrical equipment free of any vegetation that could limit utility service access.

Remember, call 811 before you dig. Utility companies will come to your home to mark the location of underground utilities so that accidental contact, damage and injuries can be avoided.

Important safety tip - If you have trees that appear to be growing into power lines, never try to prune them yourself. Leave it to the professionals.

Learn more about why and how we trim trees to help maintain the reliability of your electric service

Lee Sabatini
Manager, Entergy New Orleans Communications