Can Trees Be Removed Near Power Lines?

What happens if you need to remove a tree near power lines? Trees and utilities have a difficult relationship, but especially trees near power lines. If trees grow too tall or wide, the branches and leaves can cause damage to the lines. Electricity can move from power lines to trees quite easily, especially if there is a power surge. Despite knowing that trees will grow, they are still planted too close to power lines and have to be severely pruned or removed.  

However, getting too close to utility lines, especially power lines, is dangerous. There are rules about who can work on (or remove) trees near power lines, safety precautions must be taken, and the correct knowledge and experience are needed to remove trees without causing further damage or injury.

In this article, we’ll cover what property owners need to know when trees and wires get too close, some of the dangers involved in removing trees near power lines, and how Rayzor’s Edge Tree Service can help. Multiple trucks from Rayzor's Edge Tree Service work around multiple utility and electric lines during a Connecticut tree removal.

Tree Removal Near Power Lines is Dangerous

While it may be tempting to remove a tree or even cut back some branches that are near a power line, this can be incredibly dangerous (even fatal) and often illegal. 

The risk of electrocution is high. Voltage can range from 120 volts to 39,000 volts depending on the type of electrical line. The primary lines running from utility poles tend to have the highest voltage, but even service lines to your house have enough electricity to be dangerous. In fact, most service wires that connect the main lines to a house carry 240 volts and 20 amps or more – which is more than enough to be fatal if contact is made. 

Even if you do not make direct contact with a power line, the danger remains. A pole pruner could touch a hidden wire or a slight shock can cause you to fall off of a ladder or the tree itself (we never recommend that you prune anything where you need a ladder to reach it, anyway). 

You don’t have to actually touch the wire to be electrocuted. Any work within 10 feet of power lines can be fatal due to electricity’s ability to arc. When there is a surge of electricity, the current can travel from the power lines to a tree or other nearby object. 

Even professionals can succumb to this dangerous situation. According to the National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities Surveillance System, “the two leading causes of death among tree trimmers were electrocutions and falls.”

At Rayzor’s Edge Tree Service, we spend a significant amount of time training our crews on safety to prevent just such situations. We also have the equipment and machinery to prevent our crews from getting too close to power lines. A Rayzor's Edge Tree Service crane is extended over a residential neighborhood and utility lines during a Connecticut tree removal.

Other Utility Lines Can be Dangerous

Power lines are particularly dangerous, but other types of lines can pose hazardous, or, at best, problematic, if near trees.

These can include:

  • Telephone cables
  • Fiber optic or ethernet cables
  • Electric lines
  • Gas lines

These lines can be underground or above ground. Some connect to homes or buildings. While you may only consider the lines above ground to be dangerous, consider what might happen to an underground gas line when a large section of tree falls to the ground or when a tree stump is ground out. 

Keep all types of utility lines, above and below ground, in mind when planning a tree removal. 

Who Should Remove a Tree Near Power Lines?

For trees on municipal roads, tree removal should be left to the tree warden.

For trees on a state road, the Department of Transportation, the utility company, and the adjacent property owner will be in charge of any needed tree removals.

If a utility company plans to remove a tree on private property, it will need to obtain the permission of the property owner. 

Property owners are responsible for maintaining the trees on their property and making sure there is no interference with the utility lines. Utility companies tend to check and maintain all trees and shrubs near power lines every 5 years. 

So, in general, if a tree is on public property, you don’t have to worry about removing the tree. But if it is on your property, you will need to hire a tree care professional to remove the tree. 

You may already know that there are laws in Connecticut regarding who is allowed to work on trees. This is applicable to trees that are near power lines especially. When removing a tree near a power line or any other type of utility line, hire a professional who is licensed to work on trees in Connecticut, such as Rayzor’s Edge Tree Service.A Rayzor's Edge Tree Service tree removal crane is parked near to power lines on a Connecticut residential property during a tree removal.

Power Lines and Tree Removals in General

Even if a tree is not touching a power or utility line, there may be a line that the Rayzor’s Edge Tree Service team will need to be aware of during a tree removal. 

For instance, we often must lift sections of trees over power lines during a tree removal. 

In some cases, we may need to work with the utility company to schedule them to turn off the power during a tree removal. 

Therefore, even if a tree is not near a utility line or touching one, the line may impact how and where we remove the tree. 

For these reasons and more, scheduling a tree removal near power lines can often take longer than other tree removals. This is not due to a lack of efficiency but rather in an effort to keep everyone as safe as possible!

Learn more about our tree removal services >>Rayzor's Edge Tree Service log truck and chipper are parked on a Connecticut residential street with power lines overhead.

Contact Rayzor’s Edge for Difficult Tree Removals

If you have remove a tree near power lines or utility lines, contact Rayzor’s Edge Tree Service to schedule your removal. We will visit your property beforehand to assess the tree, where it is located, and any nearby lines that will impact our work.

As this type of tree removal can take longer to schedule, contact us as soon as possible to get started! 

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