Members should pay special attention when landscaping their property, and only plant trees and shrubs in positions that will not threaten the right-of-way clearance that must be maintained. For primary distribution line, that clearance is 15 feet on both sides of the lines (30′ total), all the way to the ground. For secondary line (the lines leading to your meter) four feet on either side of the lines, and to the ground, should remain clear.

Proper planting around power lines can greatly reduce or eliminate storm damage to power lines and minimize outages. The main rule of thumb is to respect the easement and properly place plants where limbs will not ever come in contact with power lines or transformers when the tree is mature. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine the future size, so that’s why it’s important to research tree varieties for their expected height and width before planting. Also, after planting, it’s important to inspect a tree each season to see how it’s growing, and to selectively shape and trim it. If done properly, this will maintain a pleasing shape and help avoid a drastic one-sided or flat top look that happens when infrequent pruning is done on larger trees. Another benefit to pruning small amounts more often is the tree or shrub will be much healthier than if drastic cuts are needed.

If your looking to plant a new tree there are great selections that are much more “power line friendly” because of the reduced reach and height. Some of those include the Carolina Cherry Laurel, Dwarf Crepe Myrtle, Flowering Dogwood, Fringe Tree, Japanese Maple, Mesquite, Mexican Buckeye, Mexican Plum, Texas Redbud, Texas Mountain Laurel, Vitex, and the Yaupon Holly.