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Whenever you plant trees, it's important to consider where to plant them – and to make sure you're planting the right trees. To realize the full benefits of trees takes a communitywide effort. That's where you come in, and we can help.

Planting Responsibly Around Electrical Infrastructure

While we use pruning methods that prioritize the health of trees, you can do your part by planting trees and shrubs appropriate distances from power lines, transformers and other types of electrical equipment. Because city and county guidelines for planting vary, be sure to check those that apply to your community. To determine the location of FPUA electric and other underground utility service lines in Florida, call toll-free 811.

Better reliability through managed and well-placed vegetation means fewer power interruptions for you and your neighbors. More importantly, trees that touch power lines can create dangerous situations. In general, only licensed professionals should prune trees. That's especially true with trees near electrical infrastructure. Our crews are just a phone call away – so let us know if you see trees growing into power lines.

Did you know that planting deciduous trees, which lose their leaves for part of the year, on the east and west sides of your home can cool it by up to 10 degrees in summer and warm it by 10 degrees in winter? Shading your air conditioning unit with trees can help it run more efficiently, reducing your electricity consumption by up to 10 percent. You can gain additional benefits by shading sidewalks, driveways and patios.

When Planting, Go Native – or At Least Florida-Friendly

It's important for the sake of the trees you plant, as well as the environment, to plant native trees as much as possible and to avoid planting invasive species. Native plants are better suited to local growing conditions. Invasive species, on the other hand, can grow out of control and choke out beneficial species.

Florida-friendly plants are those that, while not native to the state, grow well in the appropriate regions and zones. With the right native and Florida-friendly vegetation, you not only have species more likely to thrive, but also plants and shrubs that need less water, fertilizer and overall care.

Problem Trees

The following non-native problem trees can cause conflicts when planted adjacent to or under overhead power lines. These trees may be prohibited in some municipalities. Any fast, tall-growing tree that could ultimately reach the power lines could cause a problem.

  • Australian Pine
  • Melaleuca
  • Brazilian Pepper
  • Tree Bamboo
  • Schefflera
  • Ficus

Consult your local nursery or landscaper for more information.

Small, immature trees planted today can grow into problem trees in the future. Selecting the right tree and planting it in the right place around power lines can eliminate potential safety hazards and improve the reliability of your electric service. In addition, your tree can achieve its proper height and form. Use the information below as a guide when planning your landscape design.

Selecting Trees for Distribution Rights of Way

When selecting a tree or shrub to plant, it is just as important to consider what you plant as it is where you plant. The right tree or shrub, planted in the right place, can give you years of beauty and value without the potential dangers of getting too close to power lines.

To help you decide which tree or shrub is right for your yard, here are a few suggestions.

  • Small Trees
  • Medium Trees
  • Large Trees
  • Shrubs

Small Trees

The following small-growing trees (no larger than 25 feet) are adaptable to the Carolinas and can be planted directly underneath power lines with a minimum of later pruning:

  • Crepe Myrtle
  • Flowering Crabapples
  • Dogwoods
  • Redbud
  • Saucer Magnolia

Medium Trees

The following medium-sized trees (maturing to 25 to 40 feet) can be planted at least 20 feet from distribution power lines:

  • Flowering Yoshino Cherry
  • Littleleaf Linden
  • Bradford Callery Pear
  • American Hornbeam

Large Trees

Be careful as you plan to visualize the tree at its full size. Large trees, such as oaks, often spread out considerably as they grow. Plant the saplings of large-growing species (maturing to 40 feet or more) at least 40 feet from distribution power lines to avoid future pruning problems:

  • Willow Oak
  • Red Oak
  • White Oak
  • Sugar Maple
  • Red Maple
  • Southern Magnolia
  • Gingko


Selecting and positioning shrubs is not nearly as difficult as planning for trees. In most cases, shrubs will never grow to affect power lines.

However, we need to keep as much open space as possible around pad-mounted transformers (the rectangular green boxes located near property lines). That’s why we encourage you not to plant any type of vegetation other than grass within ten feet of the opening side of the box (where the padlock is located). This open space is needed so we can get inside to perform repairs and maintenance.