Don’t Plant Palm Trees Under Power Lines

Published 11:12 am Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Tropical plants and other trees can grow into lines and cause outages


To The Leader

BEAUMONT, Texas – Palm trees have become synonymous with tropical paradise, but the straight, fast growing trees can quickly become a nightmare for some homeowners who plant them under power lines.

Unlike other trees, palm trees grow in a straight, vertical line, with a single growing point at the top of the tree. Because of this single growing point, normal pruning techniques are not effective. If a growing palm tree becomes a safety hazard, it may need to be topped or removed altogether.

“Palm trees present a specific hazard to energized electrical lines, due to their extremely flammable properties,” said Tracy Dillon, supervisor of vegetation management for Entergy Texas, Inc. “Palm fronds contacting the power lines can lead to unsafe conditions, as well as affect customer service reliability by causing power outages.”

If homeowners choose to include palm trees in their landscape plans, Dillon recommends planting them at least 20-40 feet from electric facilities, in order to reduce the risk of windblown fronds coming into contact with power lines.

“No part of the tree should ever grow within 10 feet of the power line,” he said.

The same holds true for other trees, and the appropriate distance from power lines depends on the tree. A matured tree’s height as well as width should be considered when choosing your planting location.

Power lines can carry up to 34,500 volts and can be deadly, so people trimming trees need to use extra caution. If you are planning to trim or remove a tree near any power or service line, please call 1-800-ENTERGY (1-800-368-3749). Trained personnel can identify potential reliability or safety threats and advise you what can be done.

Never touch an electrical wire; always assume it is conducting electricity and is dangerous. For more information on tree trimming or about where to plant trees, so they will be power line friendly, visit the tree section of our website.