Tips for Keeping Your Trees Off of Power Lines

fallen pine tree on a power line with smoking limbs

There’s nothing like a nice big tree in your yard. Of course, with those enormous trees come potential dangers. Chief among these are hazards to your home and power lines. Having a tree fall on your power line can do much worse than knock out your power. That’s why it’s important to deal with these problems early. You may wonder who to call to help with removal when you have a tree on a power line and what you can do to help.

First, it’s important to know how close is too close when working with or near electricity. The United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) provides guidelines for a 10-foot buffer around power lines. This safety zone standard for residential areas increases with higher voltage lines. Safety around electricity is critical, but many homeowners can maintain their trees themselves. Simple maintenance is key to avoiding trees falling on power lines. Losing power due to branches on lines leads not only to lost power but also poses fire hazards. Here are some tips you can follow to keep you, your power lines, and your trees safe from harm.

Prune Trees Within the Safety Zone

You can prune trees falling outside the 10-foot safety zone of a power line. You just keep the branches clipped back to keep them from reaching the power lines themselves. If you don’t have clippers that can reach that high or don’t want to get up on a ladder, you can always call a professional tree pruning service to handle the job for you. Pruning also decreases chances of fallen limbs during storms. Just don’t go too crazy. You always want to prune branches with future growth in mind. Also be sure to have your trees pruned at the right time. Prune spring blooming trees when the flowers drop while pruning summer and fall flowering trees in the winter. Know your local weather and prune and trim before intense weather arrives.

Remove Dead Foliage and Branches

Dead branches pose a safety risk because they can fly onto the lines by intense winds. Residents should do regular checks of trees near lines to look for dying or dead branches. Look for branches that appear lighter and have a dried appearance. Particularly watch out for branches without new growth and leaves. When possible, cut these limbs when they are accessible without danger. For fuller trees with large or plentiful leaves, remove expired foliage when possible. While a few leaves don’t pose too much risk, a branch with several dried leaves poses a fire hazard. Before dangerous weather arrives, remove old growth and dead branches.

Landscape Planning is Essential

While some trees and bushes may have grown before your arrival, you may be able to plan for future growth. Think about the 10-foot safety zone when planting trees and high-reaching shrubs. Research the potential height and reach of trees and bushes before planting. Also look up how easy your trees are to prune and maintain before you plan them.

Know When To Call a Professional

When you have a tree near power lines, it’s important to pay close attention to growth and proximity to the lines. There is a safe zone for trimming trees by power lines. It’s important to call the professionals when your trees are too close to lines. It’s never worth the risk if you have a tree growing near a power line, call a local arborist that is trained and prepared to handle the job.
Trimming trees around power lines are always best left to professionals. However, following these steps should keep your trees off of power lines. These tips can also help to increase safety for homeowners and utility workers. Have a concern about your trees on power lines? Blackhawk Tree Services can answer questions and address your concerns.