Right Tree, Right Place

Right Tree, Right Location graphic showing a max tree height of 25-30 feet (20-25 feet is best) is recommended near utility poles.

Plant the Right Tree For Your Location

Trees beautify our neighborhoods, help clean the air, and conserve energy by providing shade. However, it is important to plant the right tree for your location.

Study Your Location

When planting a tree, pick a suitable location. First, look up and around in all directions. Second, scan the ground carefully. Third, take stock of what you see:

  • Are there any overhead power lines nearby?
  • Is there an electrical transformer on a concrete pad or other electrical facility nearby on the ground?
  • How close will a fully-grown tree come to a power line, transformer, or structure?

Leave Room to Grow

Consider the available height and width from your planting location. Is there enough room for a full-grown tree? You may decide to plant in a different spot. If there is enough room, you are ready to identify suitable trees.

Choose the Right Tree

  • Tree height – Plant trees that grow no taller than 25-30 feet when mature (20-25 feet is best) when planting under or near power lines. This reduces the chance of power outages, avoids annual pruning, and maintains legally required clearance.
  • Tree width – Plant trees at least 10 feet away from transformers and electric facilities on the ground.
  • Tree roots – Avoid trees with shallow, spreading root systems when planting near underground utilities. Tree roots grow with tremendous force. Roots can surround and crush underground electric conduits, causing thousands of dollars of damage and power outages. This contributes to higher electric rates.

Let MID Help

  • We’ll visit your home if you are unsure whether a location might be too close to a power line. Call (209) 557-1522 for this free service.
  • MID has a list of trees that grow no taller than 25 to 30 feet and that generally do not have problem roots. This list of trees suitable for the Central Valley climate was developed by the UC Agricultural Extension Service. It has been supplemented with information from other authorities on trees.
Acceptable Trees to Plant Near Power Lines

Mature Height 30 Feet or Less - 20 to 25 Feet Is Best

When planting near underground utilities, choose trees with low root damage potential

Tree NameBotanical NameDescriptionMature Height (feet)Mature Height (feet)Mature Width (feet)Root Damage Potential
BestOK, but may need some pruningLow is Best
1African SumacRhus lanceaTri-foliate leaf.20 to 3020 to 35Low
2Autumn Brilliance Apple ServiceberryAmelanchier X grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance'White flowers; fall color. 15 - 2510 to 20Low
3Bottlebrush (various)Callistemon spp.Spring blooming with red flowers; attracts hummingbirds.To 2515Low
4Bronze LoquatEriobotrya deflexiaSpring blooming with white flowers, great leavesTo 2510-15Low
5Cascade Snow CherryPrunus yedoensis X 'Cascade Snow'High irrigation; white flowers.20 to 2520Low
6Chaste TreeVitex agnus-castusLarge shrub or small tree; low irrigation; lavender flowers10 to 1515 to 20Low
7ChitalpaChitalpa tashkentensisLitter; moderate irrigation; showy lavender flowers20 to 3020 to 25Low
8Citrus Fruit TreesCitrus, variousSummer fruiting lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, tangerineTo 2525 to 30Low - Medium
9Crape MyrtleLagerstroemia indicaSummer blooming; impressive red, pink, lavender or white flowers.15 to 2510 to 20Low
10Desert WillowChilopsis linearisVery low irrigation; open shape; showy lavender or pink flowers; needs pruning; attracts hummingbirds. California native.15 to 3015 to 25Low
11English HawthornCrataegus laevigataModerate growth rate; round head; white flower clusters.10 to 2515 to 20Low
12Evergreen PearPyrus kawakamiiModerate irrigation; open irregular shape; white flower clusters.15 to 3015 to 30Low
13Flowering DogwoodCornus floridaModerate growth rate; flat top; white or pink bracts.20 to 3020 to 30Low
14Golden Raindrops CrabappleMalus X 'Golden Raindrops'Moderate irrigation; litter; attractive white flowers, show y golden yellow fruit.15 to 2515 to 25Low
15Hopseed BushDodonaea viscosaShrubby; mix of purple and green foliage, good for screening.12 to 1512 to 15Low
16Ivory Silk Japanese Tree LilacSyringa reticulateModerate irrigation; white flowers.20 to 3020 to 30Low
17Japanese MapleAcer palmatum var.Slow growing; open top; red fall foliage.15 to 25To 25Low
18Krauter Vesuvius Plum Prunus cerasiferaModerate irrigation; fruit litter; pink flowers; purple foliage.20 to 3020 to 30Low
19Trident MapleAcer buergeranumModerate irrigation; attractive red fall color.20 to 3020 to 30Low
20OleanderNerium oleanderSpring-summer blooming; white, pink or red flowers; good for screening; drought tolerant.To 204 to 12Low
21PittosporumPittosporum tenuifoliumVertical in growth; dense green foliage; drought tolerant.15 to 2510 to 15Low
22Redbud, Eastern & WesternCercis canadensis, occidentalisLow-moderate irrigation; showy pink or rose flowers; fall color. California native15 to 2515 to 25Low
23Redrock OakQuercus buckleyi 'Redrock'Low irrigation; red fall color.20 to 3020 to 25Low
24Robinson CrabappleMalus X 'Robinson'Spring blooming; pink flowers; fall fruiting, red berries attract birds.15 to 2515 to 25Low
25Saucer MagnoliaMagnolia soulangeanaSlow-growing; oval top; showy white, fragrant flowers15 to 2515 to 25Low
26Shantung Maple Acer truncatumModerate irrigation; attractive red fall color.20 to 3020 to 30Low
27Shiny Xylosma Xylosma congestumLow irrigation; needs training.15 to 3015 to 30Low
28Snowdrift CrabappleMalus X 'Snowdrift'Moderate irrigation; litter; attractive white flowers15 to 2515 to 25Low
29Star Magnolia Magnolia stellataSlow-growing; shrubby rounded shape; showy white flowers.15 to 2010 to 15Low
30Strawberry MadroneArbutus unedoWhite flowers; orange bark; orange fruit; attracts birds. California native10 to 2010 to 20Low
31Thundercloud Purpleleaf PlumPrunus cerasiferaModerate irrigation; fruit litter; pink flowers; purple foliage20 to 2520 to 25Low
32Toyon - Christmas BerryHeteromeles arbutifoliaModerate irrigation; drought tolerant; shrub or tree; white flower clusters; red berries in winter. California native15 to 2515 to 25Low
33Washington Hawthorn Crataegus phaenopyrumModerate growth rate; round zigzag shape; white flower clusters.20 to 3020 to 25Low

References: Tree Guidelines for San Joaquin Communities, Western Center for Urban Forest Research and Education, USDA Forest Service; U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Plants Database; University of California Agricultural Extension Service; University of Florida IFAS Extension; Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute, College of Agriculture, California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo.

Download Acceptable Trees to Plant Near Power Lines (PDF)

Questions? Call MID at (209) 557-1522.

Now you’re ready to go tree shopping and talk with experts at a local nursery.