Shovel? Check. Gardening gloves? Check? Wheelbarrow, rake, watering can, fertilizer: check, check, check, check. You’re ready to start planting!

Not so fast. Trees are a leading cause of power outages across our service territory. Before you begin your latest landscaping project, it’s important to do these four things first.

We’re asking customers to please plan before you plant. A little prep work goes a long way toward ensuring future generations can enjoy the beauty and benefits of trees without them causing power outages for you and your neighbors. Keep in mind the following recommendations from our forestry team.

  • Know how high a tree will grow. By determining the potential height of a tree, you can ensure its branches won’t grow into power lines when they’re fully grown. We recommend planting small trees like Redbud, Dogwood and Crabapple at least 10-25 feet from power lines; medium-size trees such as Washington Hawthorn and Golden Rain at least 25-50 feet away; and tall trees like Maple, Oak, Spruce and Pine at least 50 feet from overhead lines.
  • Consider how wide a tree will be. At full growth, trees should be at least 10 feet away from power lines. The only exceptions are Dogwood or Crabapple: They have a smaller canopy spread and are the only trees suitable to plant inside this 10-foot range.
  • Think about how fast a tree will grow. Slow-growing species, such as Spruce or Oak, are typically stronger and live longer than other trees.
  • Beware of what’s under the ground. When planting a tree, it’s important to avoid underground lines when digging. Call 811 at least 48 hours in advance to make sure any underground lines are clearly marked. This will help prevent injuries and any additional expenses or fines.


The varieties of trees to plant can be overwhelming, with many factors to consider. When it comes to eliminating risk to our equipment, here’s a list of trees that should NOT be planted near power lines:

  • Black Locust
  • Boxelder
  • Carolina Poplar
  • Catalpa
  • Cottonwood
  • Elm
  • Mulberry
  • Siberian Elm
  • Silver Maple
  • Tree of Heaven
  • Willow

Need help? Check out our list of Frequently Asked Questions or visit You can also email or call us at (614) 883-6987.

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