Questions To Answer If Your Tree Is Near Utility Lines

Overhead utility lines can become entangled in tree branches, posing a hazard. Prompt action is needed if there are any concerns about your trees and nearby overhead lines.

Which Utility Lines Are a Concern?

Most concerns about utility lines and trees are about power lines, but there are other lines that can raise concerns. Although not as dangerous as live electrical current, you still would not want a tree to take out your phone or internet lines. The tree does not have to be growing directly in the path of the lines to pose a risk, either. Lines passing near a tree, even a few yards away, can be at risk when the tree is blowing in high winds. Broken branches swept up in a gust can also become entangled in nearby lines.

When Is Removal the Best Choice?

If the tree is pruned annually so that none of the main branches endanger the lines, then continuing with professional pruning to manage height may allow you to keep the tree. Remove the tree if the main branches are already growing into the lines, as topping the tree or using other extreme tactics to shorten it are overly detrimental to the health and safety of the tree. Trees that show signs of decline or those trees leaning toward the lines should also be removed as they could fall into the lines.

Who Is Responsible for Removal?

Responsibility typically depends on the location of the tree. You may need to verify who owns the land beneath the tree and overhead lines, as sometimes areas next to the road are owned by the city. If the tree is on your property, then it's your responsibility to maintain or remove it. In some areas, you may be subject to fines if you fail to do so. The municipality is responsible for removal on city-owned property, so contact them or the utility company if you have concerns about the tree.

Are There Any Removal Rules or Requirements?

In the case of power lines, removal is not a do-it-yourself job as it must be done by a licensed and trained professional. Permits may be required, and the utility company must be notified so that they can make any safety allowances like arranging for a temporary power outage. Traffic rerouting may also be necessary, depending on the location of the tree in relation to roads and sidewalks. 

Contact a residential tree removal service for more information.