When it comes to planting trees near power lines or other utilities, there are certain considerations that must be taken into account. Storms can cause large trees to fall on power lines, and the wind can cause branches to break or rub against the energized lines. To ensure safety and avoid power outages, it is important to choose the right tree for the right place. If you are planting a tree less than 20 feet from an overhead power line, you should select large shrubs or small trees that don't grow more than 15 feet tall.
Trees planted 20 to 50 feet away from a power line should not grow more than 40 feet tall, and trees that grow higher than 40 feet should be planted more than 50 feet from power lines. If you are planting a new tree in an area below power lines, it is suggested that you select a tree or shrub that does not exceed 8 m (25 ft). When planning to plant near overhead power and communication lines, the height of the tree, the extent of the crown, the shape of the tree, and the growth rate of the tree should all be taken into account. Trees should not be planted below transmission lines, and only trees that reach a mature height of 12 feet may be planted within the border area of the maintained right of way.
It is also important to call your local power company and have them detect underground services at least two business days before the scheduled tree planting date. Most utility companies will have certified arborists on staff and will be available to work with you to review the proposed planting and see if small trees (at maturity) are compatible with the site. By taking these considerations into account when planting trees near power lines or other utilities, you can do your part to help keep trees healthy and avoid power outages. Over time, trees and shrubs can become too big for a place, leading to costly removals and replanting.
Despite all these rules and measures, there are still a lot of small trees or large shrubs that can be planted under power lines and around utility poles.