Trees and Power Lines in Portland, OR: What You Need to Know

Jump to: Safety Tips for Trees and Power Lines in Portland, OR, Considerations for Trees and Power Lines in Portland’s Urban Landscape, Emergency Tree Trimming Around Power Lines Near You in Portland, OR

At first glance, trees may seem entirely safe. Indeed, trees often symbolize stability in ancient myths. However, trees can be unsafe in certain circumstances. As our regular readers will recognize by now, poorly cared-for trees are more likely to fall in a storm. Power lines also complicate the safety of trees. In this post, we discuss what homeowners should know about trees that are placed near power lines and who is responsible for trimming trees near power lines. We also talk about safety issues that can occur and the safety precautions that homeowners should consider. We include tips for considering the location of power lines when planting. Finally, we touch on what to do in tree/power line emergency situations.

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Portland trees near power lines who is responsible for trimming trees near cable lines

Safety Tips for Trees and Power Lines in Portland, OR

    • Wondering who is responsible for trimming trees on power lines? Utility companies are responsible for trimming and maintaining trees near power lines. They will prune around the power lines on a regular schedule. It’s also worth noting who is responsible for trimming trees near cable lines and that it is also the responsibility of the utility company. Never attempt to trim a tree that has grown into power lines. In some cases, the utility company may call for the removal of a tree that has grown too close to power lines. If you’re concerned that a tree is growing too close to a power line, call your utility company as well as our Portland-certified arborists. We would be happy to schedule an advisory visit.
    • Power lines are not insulated; if you touch one it could kill you. This also includes branches that are touching a power line. When in doubt, call the electric company first. Do not touch bare wires or branches that are against the bare wire. Prevent children from climbing trees that are near power lines. Also, observe the 10-foot rule—don’t attempt to work on any tree that comes within 10 feet of a power line. Instead, call us for Portland tree services. Our arborists are thoroughly informed on how to safely prune around power lines.
    • Never put a ladder against a power line.
    • Any time you prune, be sure to observe basic safety guidelines. Make sure that you are working on a steady, level surface, including any ladders. Don’t try to remove large branches while working from a ladder. Instead, break up the branch into smaller chunks. If you have trouble working from a short ladder, call a pro instead. Don’t over-extend; don’t work past your comfortable height.
    • Wear adequate safety protection while conducting Portland tree pruning. You should always wear eye protection. Ear protection is also needed when working with power.
    • Dead or diseased limbs can be removed immediately. Don’t worry about the season. (But do mind the safety cautions listed above.)
    • Keep the equipment sharp, practice making good cuts (not cutting into the branch collar), and don’t worry about sealing your pruning cuts. If pruning is done properly, trees are very good at sealing over their own injuries. Learn how to identify the branch collar, and where to make a proper cut, such as above the branch collar, but without leaving a stub. Be careful not to injure or cut through the branch collar. If you still have questions about tree trimming, Portland Fruit Tree Project offers affordable tree care workshops (which Urban Forest Pros hosts from time to time).
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Considerations for Trees and Power Lines in Portland’s Urban Landscape

If you’re thinking of planting a tree one thing to consider is to never plant a tree under a high-voltage power line. Research how large your tree will be at maturity prior to tree planting. Portland’s long growing season will allow trees to thrive, so it’s important to choose the right species for the available space. Ensure that any species you plant will not grow too large and that they will not grow into nearby power lines. Here’s a short list of trees that under normal conditions are short enough to be planted under distribution power lines: Trident, Amur, Paperbark, and Tartian Maples; Flowering Dogwood, Hawthorne, Bristlecone Pine, Honeysuckle, Sumac, Juniper, Rose Acacia.

The following plants grow too tall and should never be planted under power lines: Silver or Norway Maple, Oak, Colorado Blue Spruce, White Spruce, and most pines.

Urban Forest Pro Who is Responsible For Tree Limbs on Power Lines

Emergency Tree Trimming Around Power Lines Near You in Portland, OR

When it comes to trees near power lines, one common question is, “who is responsible for tree limbs on power lines?” In most cases, the responsibility for tree limbs on power lines falls on the utility company to trim trees and remove any branches that pose a risk to the power lines. The phone number for Portland General Electric (PGE) is 503-228-6322 and for Pacific Power and Light (PP&L) it is 1-888-221-7070. However, if you notice a tree or branch leaning on a high-voltage line, it’s crucial to call the power company immediately at the numbers provided above. For life-threatening emergencies, it’s best to call 911.

In the event of a storm or severe weather, it’s also important to take appropriate measures if a tree falls onto a wire. If you notice a fallen tree or branch on a wire, it’s important to take appropriate measures immediately to minimize potential costs associated with damages. This includes calling your electric company as well as a qualified arborist. Here at the nearby Urban Forest Pro, we have extensive experience in safely removing fallen branches and trees from a variety of precarious situations. You can trust us to remove hazardous trees safely while minimizing the damage to your property.

If you have concerns about trees near power lines, don’t hesitate to reach out to your utility company or a qualified arborist for guidance and support. Together, we can ensure a safe and healthy environment for all. Put our number in your phone so you can get a hold of us quickly following emergencies.

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