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What Trees Can I Plant Under A Power Line?

There are certain trees that you can plant under a power line that will not damage them. These trees and plants will often not be too much of a hazard for tree trimming or pose a high danger for electrical injury or fires. Councils and property owners will be responsible for the trees they plant in their area, including organising tree trimming. Here at The Local Electrician, we offer Level 2 Electrician services where we will help with private power pole and line replacement and repairs.

There are many types of trees that people can safely plant under a power line. These can include native pines, gum trees, bamboo, native frangipanis, orchid trees, wattles, maples and apple gum. These need to in most residential areas have a minimum clearance of one metre from the power line and a certified tree trimmer will need to be hired to perform maintenance.

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What Plants and Trees Can I Plant Under a Power Line?

The types of plants and trees that are allowed to be planted underneath power lines are (list not containing every suitable type):

Plants

  • Banksia
  • Lilly Pilly
  • Bottlebrush
  • Tea-tree
  • Crepe myrtle
  • Japanese maple
  • Grevillea

Trees

  • Fir tree
  • Wattle
  • Maple
  • Lilly Pilly 
  • She oak
  • Apple gum
  • Bamboo
  • Orchid tree
  • Native pine
  • Gum trees
  • Fig trees
  • Native frangipani 
  • Paper banks
  • Palms
  • Pines

In Rural Areas

Within rural areas the vegetation grown near the power lines needs to not pose a bushfire risk, be a risk to public safety, not interfere with the Ausgrid network or restrict any services that need to be done on the systems. Local councils will often sell native trees that are suitable and safe to be grown near power lines. It is also important to not grow any tall trees near the power lines but grow low-growing species.

In Urban Areas

Urban areas have limited space compared to rural areas which is why tall-growing trees are rarely planted as there is not enough safe room for them to grow. Low-growing trees are prefered and the property owner is responsible for ensuring that the tree will not interfere with the power lines. Local councils will also often offer trees that are native and are safe to be planted near the power lines.

What are the Minimum Vegetation Clearances Near Power Lines?

The minimum clearances of trees and plants near a power line will be influenced by the type of tree, the tree height, the rate in which the tree grows, the danger hazard rating, the location it is planted in, its bushfire and fire risk and what voltage the cables are. For most residential areas the minimum distance between vegetation and power lines is 1 metre. If the area is prone to bushfires then there will be an additional 0.5 metres of clearance on top for added safety.

What Do I Need to Consider Before I Plant Under a Power Line?

Before you plant under a power line there are specific factors to consider to make sure that everything is safe:

  • Ensure to look up the existing electrical assets and systems to prevent accidental damage to them while planting
  • Know if there is underground cabling near the area the tree will be planted to prevent them from being damaged, this includes for street and public areas as well as on private property
  • Know how tall the tree or plant will grow and if it will make too much of a negative impact when it fully grows
  • Plant the tree as far away from the power lines as possible, a good rule is the height of the tree should determine how far from the power lines it should be planted for example a tree growing 8 metres should be planted 8 metres away from the power line
  • It is important to gain council approval if planning to plant on footpaths and on the street
  • Remember that Ausgrid will need to access their network in the future for maintenance and repairs
  • Make sure to plant native trees to the area as much as possible and try to prevent planting vegetation that will ruin the local environment.

What are the Dangers of Vegetation Growing Near Power Lines?

There are many reasons why there are many rules regarding what can be grown near or under power lines as well as tree trimming regulations, the main concerns are:

  • Branches can fall and if they land on power lines this can cause them to be damaged or fall to the ground
  • Any branches pushing on the power lines can create major safety hazards, such as possible fires, wires being cut or damaged, wires falling to the ground and hanging low
  • If vegetation is touching the power lines and a person had to touch the vegetation there is a chance of electrical injury
  • The vegetation might block the power lines from view meaning people, especially in boats, vehicles and machinery, might accidentally make contact with them

If you have witnessed fallen power poles and lines then we highly encourage you to read our blog ‘what happens if a tree falls on a power line’ to know how to safely handle the situation.

Who is Responsible for Trees Near Power Lines?

Either the local council or the owner of private property will be the one responsible for trees on their property. This means that they will need to know what trees are able to be installed near power lines and ensure that they will not interfere with the lines. Organising tree trimming services as maintenance will also be the responsibility of the property owner or council depending on where the tree is planted.

Our blog ‘who is responsible for tree trimming’ provides a more in-depth explanation of the topic and is highly recommended to be read.

Trusted Level 2 Electrical Services

The Local Electrician is here to provide fully qualified level 2 electricians to work with private power pole replacements and repairs. We are trained to work with all types of power poles and will be able to replace, install, repair and perform maintenance on them. Through our Emergency Electrician services, we are here at all times to resolve any electrical dilemmas and emergencies related to private power poles and lines.

Our level 2 asp services, private power pole work and all other electrical services are here for all of Sydney, including Inner West and Eastern Suburbs

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For professional and reliable level 2 asp power pole services – contact The Local Electrician!

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Hamish Baker