Proper tree and site selection provide trouble-free beauty and pleasure for years to come
Trees need space to grow both above and below ground. Carefully consider your surroundings.
Choose a tree and location where the ultimate height and spread of the tree will remain at least 10 feet away from power lines. Roots may be damaged if underground facilities need to be dug up for repairs.
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Managed by the California Polytechnic State University, SelecTree has more than 1,400 different trees in its database with 49 different criteria to search within the following four categories: Site Characteristics, Tree Characteristics, Maintenance and Use. Through this site you can search by tree attribute, which allows you to choose the Right Tree for the Right Place. To begin your search for trees to plant, please visit SelecTree’s Tree Selection Guide. They also have a page dedicated to Utility Precautions. This page will help facilitate your tree selection by providing a comprehensive list of appropriate tree species to plant near utility lines.
Palm trees grow only one way, and that is up. Unlike other trees, palms have a single growing point. We can frequently prune trees so the growth can be directed to the side or away from overhead power lines, but growth of palm trees can not be redirected. Pruning too close to the center of the fronds, or the heart of the palm, can actually kill the palm. Often times the minimum clearance that utilities are required to prune the fronds from power lines may result in the palm’s death. When landscaping with palms, plant them well away from power lines. We recommend planting at least 50 feet away, to reduce the risk of wind blown fronds from contacting the power lines. Often, PG&E must prune or remove these palms when located inappropriately.
PG&E will remove the tree as close to the ground as practical and leave the wood at the site. The stump will not be ground. Or, PG&E will prune or top the palm tree (leaving the wood at the site) to make it safe for your contractor to complete the removal. A palm may be moved by the owner before it is within 10 feet of the high voltage power lines.
Download a poster of Palm and Power Lines (PDF, 538 KB).