Planting near power lines

Tree zone

Plan ahead when planting

Trees make our yards and neighbourhoods beautiful and they can solve practical problems, too.

We only ask that when you’re about to plant a tree that you plan carefully. Be aware of power lines and consider the final height of the tree when it’s fully grown.

Planting a tree that will grow taller than the utility pole directly under the power line, for example, can lead to problems such as:

  • The tree growing into the power line.
  • The tree falling onto the power line.

Right tree, right place

There are three zones around overhead power lines:

  • Low zone: This area extends 5 metres on either side of the power line. Trees planted here should have a maximum mature height of 6 metres or less.
  • Medium zone: This area extends from the edge of the low zone to a distance of 10 metres from the pole and power line. The maximum, mature height of trees in this zone should be 12 metres.
  • Tall zone: More than 10 metres from power lines and poles, virtually any strong, healthy tree is fine to be planted in this area.

Overheight trees in the medium zone cause the majority of outages. Falling branches and toppling trees can bring down power lines, causing power interruptions and severe safety hazards.

Use our handy guide to find the right tree

Our Planting Near Power Lines guide [PDF, 1.6 MB] includes detailed information on vegetation height restrictions and identifying types of power lines along with recommendations for selecting the right plants and trees for your region.

Hedges

Hedges are not recommended directly under power lines. However, they are acceptable if they're the right species and if they're planted far enough away from power lines.

It's up to the homeowner to maintain hedges, and annual pruning is required to keep hedges healthy and vibrant.

A BC Hydro property referral is required to determine the maximum allowable height of hedges. Email properties.helpdesk@bchydro.com or call 1 800 667 1517 for more information.