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Trees and Power Lines

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Trees and power lines do not mix! Trees that grow into or fall on power lines during a storm can cause power outages. Trees in contact with power lines can conduct electricity, leading to the potential for injury or death to anyone touching them.

It is best to avoid planting trees under and close to power lines, but if you must, choose a suitable tree and pick the planting site carefully. Find out the mature height of various South Florida trees here.

It is important to think about the future of a tree when planting.  Ask yourself, how tall will this tree be once it reaches its mature height? Here are some helpful hints from the Florida Power and Light for proper tree planting and maintenance:

  • Before hiring any tree service company to perform work in the City of Fort Lauderdale, make sure you ask to see their Broward County Tree Trimmers License.
  • Setbacks for large palms (Coconut, Royal, Sabal, Bismarck, Date etc.) are maximum frond length plus 20 feet away from overhead utility lines. 
  • Trees that grow from 30 to 49 feet should be planted a minimum of 30 feet away from overhead utility lines.
  • Plant trees that will grow to 50 feet or taller at least 50 feet away from overhead utility lines.
  • Participate in programs to replace problem, non-native trees such as Ficus, Melaluca and Australian Pine.  
  • Trim and prune any trees that you cannot replace.  Remove trees that cannot be pruned.

If a tree touches the power lines....

  • If the tree is City-owned, contact Customer Service at (954) 828-8000.
  • If the tree is on private property, contact FPL at (800) 4OUTAGE.  
  • Do not ask your landscape personnel, handyman or anyone else to trim the tree. Only licensed tree trimmers who are experiences with power line work and authorized by power/cable companies will be consulted.

Trees that Work Adjacent to Power Lines

Several trees are suitable for planting adjacent to power lines because of their height at maturity, overall shape and spread, as well as hardiness in storms. They include but are not solely limited to the following:

  • Bulnesia
  • Crape Myrtle
  • Jamaica Caper
  • Silver Buttonwood
  • Simpsons Stopper
  • Spanish Stopper

More information can be found about these trees in our GYR Tree Directory.

Planning Tree Growth Around Power Lines

Looking up, even when your tree is very small, is an important step in planting the Right Tree in the Right Place. Follow this advice to give your tree room to grow.  This information is provided courtesy of Florida Power and Light. 

FPL trees and powerlines set-back distances

More Information

 Florida Power & Light - Trees and Power Lines

This is FPL's comprehensive website regarding planting and maintenance of trees around power lines. You will find a helpful video, answers to frequently asked questions, information about licensed tree trimmers, and instructions for reporting problems. FPL also offers additional instructional concerning Trees and Power Lines .


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