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Florida Public Utilities
Trees & Power Lines

Tree-Line Maintenance

When trees grow too close to power lines, trouble grows right along with them. As a matter of fact, overgrown trees are a top cause of power outages. That’s where FPU’s Tree-Line Maintenance Program comes in. By regularly keeping electric wires free of vegetation, we’re able to prevent power outages. In turn avoiding a number of safety hazards. Your cooperation helps ensure the reliability of your electric service, now and in the future.

How It WorksRight Tree, Right PlacePower Line SafetyFAQ

Tree-Line Maintenance – How It Works

When we clear trees around power lines, it prevents disruptions to your electric service. But it’s also about better overall safety. Here’s an idea of how this program works:

  • Maintenance revolves around a consistent and planned trimming cycle
  • On average, we clear main power lines every three years; neighborhood lines average every six years
  • We only prune trees growing too close to power lines
  • Trees posing no threat to electric equipment won’t be trimmed
  • By patrolling the entire length of a power line (vs. individual locations), we can give our customers better reliability


Plan Before You PlantCustomer Notification

Once a line has come into rotation for regular trimming:

  • FPU will try to notify your neighborhood in advance by leaving a notice on your doorknob
  • After a tree is trimmed, any resulting debris is typically collected within 2-3 days
  • We aim to leave your property as tidy as we found it!

Directional Pruning
We use directional pruning to minimize stress to the tree. This method allows us to train the tree to grow away from power lines by removing only select interior branches. Furthermore, directional pruning retains much of the tree’s natural crown.

Tree Removal
Some trees endanger power lines that can’t be managed by trimming. (Dying trees or exotic vegetation are two common examples.) In certain, select cases, tree removal may be our only option. If your tree requires removal, FPU will do our best to inform you ahead of time. Typically by leaving you a notification card with a scheduled work date.

Right Tree, Right Place

Planting the “Right Tree” in the “Right Place” will help you avoid future trimming or removal. You’ll also do your part to prevent avoidable power outages for years to come. Here are three steps to smart planting:

Our Commitment to Tree Health 1. Plant The Right Tree
Trees come in all shapes and sizes, with varying root structures. Many change drastically over their lifetime. That’s why choosing the right tree is important. Especially in planning for future growth. For a list of recommended trees for your region, please visit the University of Florida’s “Trees and Power Lines” website.

2. Choose The Right Place
Choosing the right place to plant is equally crucial for longevity. Yes, “creating some shade” or “blocking an unwanted view” might seem priority. But first you should ask yourself:

  • How big will your tree’s canopy be at maturity?
  • Will its branches reach overhead utility lines?
  • Where is it in relation to existing electrical equipment?

As a rule, fast-growing trees should be planted a minimum of 20 feet away from power lines. The larger the power pole or structure, the farther back you should plant your tree.

Tree Power Line Distance

Call 811 before you dig3. 811 – Call Before You Dig
As you select the perfect location to plant your tree, you must also take note of underground utility lines. In fact, Florida law requires that you call 811 to locate and mark buried lines before you start digging. This free service helps keep everyone safe! Call 811 or visit the Sunshine 811 website at least three business days before you begin. The same applies to hired professionals.

Power Line Safety

If you or an object you’re holding touches a power line, you could be severely injured. Or worse. Play it safe by staying at least 10 feet away from power lines at all times. Also make sure to take safety precautions when working around trees.

Yard Work
Never Work – Or Trim – Near Power Lines

  • Always look up and note where power lines are before you begin yard work
  • Always keep ladders, tree-pruners and other tools at least 10 feet from power lines
  • Never try to trim trees near power lines
  • Hiring landscapers? Check if they are licensed and insured
  • If you notice a tree (or other item) interfering with an overhead line, please stay far away and call FPU immediately

Line WorkerLine-Clearing Is A Job For Professionals
Proximity to power lines should be left only to specially trained professionals. Never take it upon yourself to:

  • Retrieve items tangled in power lines
  • Attempt to trim vegetation growing on or around electric wires
  • Climb trees that are anywhere near overhead lines

Instead please call FPU at 800.427.7712. We’ll perform or schedule the service necessary.

Downed Power Lines
Never touch a downed power line. Not under any circumstance. Rather, stay as far away as possible. Please call 800.427.7712 immediately to report the issue. Or, in an emergency, dial 911. Click for more storm safety tips for our electric customers, like what to do in a power outage.

Tree-Line Maintenance FAQ

Trim Palm Tree
Why Does FPU Trim Trees?
When trees brush or fall on power lines, they can cause power outages and other hazards. FPU regularly clears lines of threatening tree growth to enhance the reliability, safety and overall quality of your electric service.

When Does FPU Trim Trees?
Our Tree-Line Maintenance Program revolves around a consistent, planned trimming cycle. On average, we clear main power lines every three years. For neighborhood power lines, every six years.

How Much Does FPU Trim?
The amount of pruning varies by case. Our professionals will consider your tree’s species, growth rate, health and location before removing only select interior branches. We use directional pruning to protect the health of your tree while training it to grow away from power lines.

Trim Tree
Is This A Free Service?
We don’t charge you for tree-line maintenance. After all, protecting our electrical equipment is our responsibility. If FPU or related personnel request payment, please report it.

Will FPU Shape My Trees, Or Trim Other Trees, While They’re Here?
We only prune trees endangering power lines and equipment. Non-threatening trees won’t be touched. For additional goals or aesthetics, please contact a qualified contractor after our line-clearing work is complete.

Why Does My Tree Have A V-Shape?
FPU uses directional pruning to direct growth away from power lines with minimal stress to the tree. With this method, only your tree’s interior (and hazardous) branches are removed. Often resulting in a V-shape.

Yard WorkIs Directional Pruning Healthy?
Directional pruning enables FPU to protect the health of trees while helping them grow away from power lines. Directional pruning won’t interfere with your tree’s natural defense system. (Such as its ability to seal wounds, or deter pests and decay.) Nor will it affect its stability. You can also feel good knowing that FPU follows American National Standard Institute (ANSI) A-300 tree-trimming standards. Endorsed by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).

When Is Tree Removal Necessary?
FPU will only remove select vegetation that can’t be trimmed or pruned effectively in order to maintain a safe distance from power lines. This may include dying trees.

Fast-growing vegetation. Exotic plants.

Is It Up To Me To Remove Tree Debris?
Any tree debris resulting from our Tree-Line Maintenance Program will be cleaned up for you. Usually 2-3 days after your tree is trimmed or removed.

Can I Trim My Trees Myself?
Never attempt to trim trees near power lines. This is very dangerous—and must only be done by qualified professionals. Contrarily, trees that are NOT near power lines should be trimmed regularly. You’ll help deter them from becoming an issue later on.

What Should I Do If A Tree Is Touching A Power Line?
If you notice a tree touching a power line, do not go anywhere near it. Instead contact FPU at 800.427.7712 (or dial 911) immediately. Especially if sparking.

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