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Before You Plant

Check for power lines before you plant trees or shrubs.

Before you plant a tree or shrub, make sure the location is out of the way of overhead and underground power lines and other utilities. For help locating underground lines in your area, dial 811.

Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana
Anyone working or lifting within 10 feet of overhead power lines or poles is required to contact the appropriate electric utility. We recommend that you be safe and take the same precautions if the tree or limbs are within 10’ of energized wires. To request assistance please call 1-800-521-2232.

To report a power outage, please use the following numbers:

Ohio and Kentucky electric customers
Local: 513-651-4182
Toll-free: 1-800-543-5599
Indiana electric customers
Toll-free: 1-800-343-3525

Selecting Trees for Distribution Rights of Way

When selecting a tree or shrub to plant, it is just as important to consider what you plant as it is where you plant. The right tree or shrub, planted in the right place, can give you years of beauty and value without the potential dangers of getting too close to power lines.

Tree placement in relation to overhead power lines is critical in order to preserve the natural size, shape and overall integrity of the tree and protect the intent for which it was planted. Utility line clearance (tree trimming) does not take into consideration the aesthetics sought by the design objective; however, it is necessary to maintain safe, reliable service.

To help you decide which tree is right for your yard, here are a few suggestions.

Small Trees
The following small-growing trees (no larger than 15 feet) are adaptable to the Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana areas and can be planted directly underneath power lines without the need to prune for the electric line:

  • ‘Durand Dwarf’ Amur Maple
  • Red Jewel Crabapple (not all crabs work; consult your local nursery)
  • Kousa Dogwood
  • Dwarf Red Buckeye
  • Star Magnolia

Medium Trees
The following medium-sized trees (maturing to 25 to 40 feet) can be planted at least 30 feet from distribution power lines:

  • Hedge Maple
  • Eastern Redbud
  • Hawthorne
  • Flowering Dogwood
  • Eastern Hop Hornbeam

Large Trees
Be careful as you plan to visualize the tree at its full size. Large trees, such as oaks, often spread out considerably as they grow. Plant large-growing species (maturing to 40 feet or more) at least 40 feet from distribution power lines to avoid future pruning:

  • Scarlet Oak
  • Red Oak
  • White Oak
  • Sugar Maple
  • Red Maple
  • Honey Locust
  • Linden or Basswood

Shrubs
Selecting and positioning shrubs is not nearly as difficult as planning for trees. In most cases, shrubs will never grow to affect power lines.

However, we need to keep as much open space as possible around pad-mounted transformers (the rectangular green boxes located near property lines). That’s why we encourage you not to plant any type of vegetation other than turf type grasses within ten feet of the opening side of the box (where the padlock is located). This open space is needed so we can get inside to perform repairs and maintenance.

Selecting Trees for Transmission Rights of Way

Trees planted improperly under or near high capacity transmission power lines pose a potential safety hazard. To ensure that our customers receive reliable electric service, Duke Energy manages and maintains transmission rights of way by controlling vegetation. It is very important that you plan before planting under or near high voltage transmission power lines.

Review our transmission line clearance guidelines for additional information. (pdf, 471 KB)

View the Transmission Power Line Right of Way Recommended Tree and Shrub list before you plant. (pdf, 84 KB)