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Planting trees a safe distance from power lines

Small trees (under 20 feet at maturity)
  • These are the only trees that are safe to plant within 20 feet of a power line pole.
Medium trees (between 25-40 feet at maturity)
  • Trees this size should be over 40 feet away from a power line pole.
Large trees (40 feet or larger at maturity)
  • The largest trees need the most room, so they should be planted over 60 feet away from a power line pole.
Safe distance to plant trees away from power lines
Trees that are easy to climb and fast-growing trees with weak branching patterns should not be planted near power lines. Pines, especially white pines, are among the easiest trees to climb. Siberian elm, weeping willow and silver maple tend to split easily under heavy rain, in snow storms or during high winds. 


Transformer boxes are green metal utility boxes mounted on a small concrete or fiberglass pad in your neighborhood, or sometimes on your property. To maintain reliable service to underground power lines, crews need access to the inside of these boxes. Make sure to plant shrubs or other landscaping like rock gardens, flowers or fences at least 10 feet away from the access door of the underground electrical or transformer box and at least 3 feet from the sides of the box.
Safe distance to install landscaping near electrical boxes

Steps to take before planting a tree

  • Call or visit at least two business days before you dig to have underground utilities located.
  • Look up and around to locate overhead power lines to avoid coming in contact with them as you plant and care for the tree, especially as it matures.
  • If you have questions about where to plant trees, or the varieties best suited to your area, consult an arborist or your state’s cooperative extension service.
If you have a tree on your property growing close to electric lines, submit a free tree pruning request via the button below, or contact us by calling 800-799-4443 or by emailing us at
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