woman shearing tree branch

Homeowner Landscaping & Tree Pruning


A silent and deadly hazard could be in the trees right outside your home: powerlines. Overgrown trees can cover the powerlines making hard to see the hazard. Respect their immense power and reduce the chances of serious injury or death. Follow these precautions when pruning trees and doing maintenance around your home.

Existing trees 

Keep trees and other types of vegetation from growing too close to powerlines and other electrical equipment. Here’s why:

  • Tree limbs that come down during a storm or high winds can bring powerlines with them. This may cause a power outage and is a safety hazard for anyone who gets too close. Stay back about the length of a school bus (10 metres) from a downed powerline.
  • Tree branches that touch powerlines can cause a fire. They can also create an electric shock if someone touches the tree. 

Be careful when using ladders to prune trees, trim bushes and hedges or clean eavestroughs. 

If you have trees growing too close to powerlines, call a certified utility arborist or your Local Distribution Company. Ask to have the trees pruned.  

Planting new trees and shrubs 

Plant new trees far enough away from the powerlines so even when your sapling matures, it doesn’t come too close. Download ESA's tree planting guide for trees that are appropriate near powerlines. Also contact the Local Distribution Company for their requirements.

Thinking about planting shrubs around that green box on your property? This box – known as padmounted equipment – contains electrical cables that runs underground. Never dig near one, and don’t plant shrubs or plants within one metre of the box or three metres on the access side of the box which is identified with a padlock. Plants will make it difficult for utility personnel to find and access the box if there’s a power outage.

Always call before you dig. Contact Ontario One Call to locate all underground utility-related infrastructure. Privately owned underground powerlines need a private locate.  

Video: Tree Pruning and Powerline Safety

If you’re a homeowner with trees that are growing close to overhead powerlines, never attempt to trim the branches yourself – this is not a DIY job. Mike Holmes explains why on the video below.


Download Safety Resources: