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Plugged In: Can I Prune My Trees Near Power Lines?

March 2, 2022

Q: Why can’t I prune trees that are near Walton EMC power lines?

A: You should NOT touch — let alone prune — a tree that’s in contact with a power line, including the service wire leading to your house. It’s very dangerous and can even be lethal.

The water in a living tree’s tissues can conduct electricity. (Even a dead tree is dangerous, if it’s wet.) When any part of a tree is electrified, the current passes through its tissues. Energy will flow through a person who’s touching the tree and the ground, causing electrocution.
Even if a tree isn’t touching an energized line, a branch can unexpectedly make contact when there’s a gust of wind or while being pruned. Pruning tools, such as a long-handled saw or a ladder, could accidentally touch the power lines, too.

We don’t recommend trimming any trees within 10 feet of an electrical line. If an overgrown tree or shrub is threatening a power line, report it to Walton EMC at 770-267-2505 for a safe solution.