Palm trees growing near power lines create unique issues. Unlike other trees, palms grow in a straight, vertical line, with a single growing point at the top of the tree. Because of this single-growth point, normal pruning techniques are not effective. With most trees, crews are able to direct the growth away from power lines using proper pruning techniques, but growth of palm trees cannot be redirected.
If you choose to include palm trees in your landscape, CenterPoint Energy recommends a planting distance of 20 - 40 feet to reduce the risk of windblown fronds contacting power lines. Consumers should plant palm trees far enough away from power lines that no part of the tree ever grows within 10 feet of the line.
CenterPoint Energy encourages you to always plant the “Right Tree in the Right Place” by thinking about the mature height of any tree and its distance from power lines before planting.
For more information about palm trees and power lines, see the FAQ's below.
Why is palm tree contact with energized power lines a problem?
When tree limbs or palm tree fronds come in contact with an energized power line, they can conduct electricity and create a safety hazard. Palm trees, specifically, are extremely flammable.
Tree limb contact with power lines can also negatively affect the reliability of electric service, causing power outages for you and your neighbors.
Why can’t palm trees be pruned like other trees?
Palms grow differently than most other trees. Because of their single-growth point, normal pruning techniques are not necessarily effective. Palms also can often regenerate fronds in a few short months, well before the utility’s next scheduled maintenance. This rapid growth cycle creates a repeated hazard when palms are located too close to power lines.
Will my palm be removed if it is too close to a power line?
It is often necessary for CenterPoint to top or remove a palm tree that is inappropriately located. When the company removes a palm tree, we will cut it off as close to the ground as practical. The stump will not be ground or removed. Before a palm tree grows to within 10 feet of power lines, the owner has the option of relocating the tree. Before digging, always call the “Call Before You Dig” nationwide phone line at 811 to safely locate underground utility lines.
Can I prune my trees around power lines in my yard?
No! Serious injury or death can occur when untrained homeowners or workers attempt to prune trees around energized power lines. By law, only qualified professionals who are authorized by CenterPoint Energy are allowed to trim or remove trees next to energized power lines. These professionals have been properly trained and equipped to work safely around power lines.
Where can I find more information?
If you have questions or would like information on power line-friendly trees, please call CenterPoint Energy at 713-207-2222 or 1-800-332-7143, and a company forester will be notified to assist you.