University of Florida

Tree placement near power lines

Small trees can be planted near power lines. Large trees planted too close to or beneath power lines increase maintenance and can reduce reliability of service. Pruning requirements are high when large trees are too close to the lines or under the lines because they need regular pruning to keep wires clear of branches as shown below. Pruning trees away from wires increases the cost of electrical service to customers. However, pruning is essential to deliver reliable electrical service.

Plant large maturing trees at least 40 feet from wires. Small trees can be planted closer.

Click here for tree placement guidelines.
Click here for good vs. poor tree placement.

Trees planted directly under the power line must be removed or pruned in order to provide reliable electric service.

These trees can be trained to grow over the building and over the wire; this will require regular maintenance. It is best to select a small tree or a tree with an excurrent growth habit for this situation.

There is no choice but to reduce growth in the center of this tree as shown because the tree was planted directly under the wire.

Lateral branches headed in this manner will simply grow back into the wires. Directing future growth away from the wires is a better pruning method.