Ideally, you would have no tall trees growing beneath power lines, but if you do have one then you need to make sure it is properly pruned. Trees that grow into power lines can cause electrical outages or even fires. The following pruning guide can help you avoid these problems.
1. When to Prune
Every tree on your property ideally should be pruned on an annual basis. This is typically in late winter for most tree varieties so that the trimming occurs when the tree is still dormant. Pruning before the deciduous trees completely grow their leaves is especially important beneath power lines for two reasons. First, it makes it easier to see the lines so that they can be avoided. Second, bare branches are less likely to get hung up in the lines so they are easier to maneuver for safe pruning. Of course, a tree service can prune at any time of year, especially if the tree is interfering with your power lines, it's just that late winter is the preferred time.
2. The Rule of 10
You can do some of the tree trimming yourself, but you need to follow the rule of 10. If a branch you are planning to cut is within 10 feet of the power lines, leave it for a professional so you don't have to touch a power line and suffer an electrical shock. Sometimes just touching a branch that is in contact with a live line can be dangerous. The rule of 10 helps avoid any accidental shocks. Further, if you are planning to trim some of the outlying branches on the tree yourself, use a ladder and don't attempt to climb into the tree to reach the branch. Not only is this a dangerous way to prune, but it also increases the chances of electrocution when a tree is growing near power lines.
3. Height Reduction
Reducing the height of a tree growing directly beneath power lines can be a possibility, depending on the type of tree. Generally, height reduction is possible on most deciduous trees, but not on evergreen trees or trees with a naturally pyramidal form. A tree service shouldn't simply top the tree, that is cut it flat across the top. This is unattractive and it weakens the tree. Instead, the service will selectively cut back branches by up to half their length so that the height of the tree is reduced but the canopy's form is maintained. Doing this annually provides the best results and puts less stress on the tree.
Contact a tree trimming service today to learn more.