Portland trees near power lines

At first glance, trees may seem entirely safe. Indeed, trees often symbolize stability in ancient myths. However, trees can be unsafe in certain circumstances, with power lines often complicating the situation. 

Safety Tips for Trees Near Power Lines

  • Never attempt to trim a tree that has grown into power lines. The utilities companies are responsible for maintaining the power lines, and they will prune around power lines on a regular schedule. Sometimes they may call for the removal of a tree that has grown too close to power lines. If you’re concerned that a tree is growing too close to a power line, give us a call to help advise if this is something We Energies would take care of for free, and to what extent.
  • Many power lines are not insulated; if you or the tree you’re touching bump one it could kill you. When in doubt, call the electric company first. Do not touch bare wires or branches that are against bare wire. Prevent children from climbing trees that are near power lines. Also observe the 10-foot rule—don’t attempt to work on any tree that comes within 10 feet of a power line. 
  • Research how large your tree will be at maturity prior to tree planting. It’s important to choose the right species for the available space. Ensure that any species you plant will not grow too large, and that they will not grow into nearby power lines.
  • Any time you prune, be sure to observe basic safety guidelines. Make sure that you are working on a steady, level surface, including any ladders. Don’t try to remove large branches while working from a ladder. Instead break up the branch into smaller chunks. If you have trouble working from a short ladder, call a pro instead. Don’t over-extend; don’t work past your comfortable height.
  • Wear adequate safety protection while conducting tree pruning. You should always wear eye protection. Ear protection is also needed when working with power.
  • Keep the equipment sharp, practice making good cuts (not cutting into the branch collar), and don’t worry about sealing your pruning cuts. If pruning is done properly, trees are very good at sealing over their own injuries. Learn how to identify the branch collar, and where to make a proper cut (above the branch collar, but without leaving a stub). Be careful not to injure or cut through the branch collar.


The number for We Energies is 1-800-662-4797. If you see a tree, or branch leaning on a high voltage line, this can be an emergency situation– call the power company immediately at the numbers provided above. (For life-threatening emergencies, obviously call 911 first.)

If a tree falls onto a wire during or after a storm, call your electric company as well as your tree professional. We are experienced in safely removing fallen branches and trees from a variety of precarious situations. You can trust us to remove hazard trees safely, while minimizing the damage to your property.