Did you know that tree limbs and branches – especially palm fronds – are among the most common causes of power outages and flickers? Last year, FPL trimmed trees and cleared vegetation along more than 15,000 miles of power lines throughout the state to help reduce tree limb interference.
FPL is committed to protecting trees and our environment while providing reliable service. We’re working hard to deliver worry-free energy, now and in the future, but we need your help.
By selecting the Right Tree and planting in the Right Place, you can help reduce power outages and flickers for you and your neighbors. Here are five simple steps to smart landscaping:
1. Find the Right Tree – Trees come in all shapes and sizes, and often change dramatically over their lifetimes. Some grow tall, some grow wide and some have extensive root systems. Before selecting your tree, make sure you know how tall, wide and deep it will be at maturity. For lists of recommended trees for your region of Florida, please visit the University of Florida’s “Trees and Power Lines” website.
2. Choose the Right Spot – Where you plant your tree is just as important as what type of tree you plant. Blocking an unsightly view or creating some shade may be a priority, but you must also think about how your tree will impact existing utility lines as it grows taller, wider and deeper. At maturity, will its canopy reach the overhead lines? Taking the time to consider location now can prevent avoidable power disturbances for years to come.
3. Call Before You Dig – What you can't see can hurt you, so before you reach for a shovel, reach for the phone. Did you know that a free call to Sunshine 811 will start the process of getting underground utility lines marked? Simply dial 811 at least two full business days before you plan to start digging and a representative will come out to your house or business and clearly mark the location of all underground utilities. This is a free service. You can also submit your request online at www.Sunshine811.com.
4. Plan for Future Growth – By planting the Right Tree in the Right Place, you’re doing your part to prevent power outages and flickers in your neighborhood. Tall trees growing under or near power lines will ultimately require pruning or removal by FPL to maintain safe clearance from the lines. FPL’s specially trained line-clearing professionals will remove threatening branches using directional pruning to protect the health of your trees while helping them to grow away from power lines. Planting the Right Tree in the Right Place can prevent the need for this pruning. Remember, you should never attempt to trim any vegetation growing on or near power lines.
5. Work Safely and Hire Safely – Whether you're planting a tree, preparing your property for storm season or picking fruit, remember to stay safe and stay far away from power lines at all times. Always look up and note the location of power lines before you begin. Careful avoidance of power lines is extremely important during yard work, especially when using tools, ladders, poles or pruning saws. Be sure that ladders or scaffolds are far enough away so that you – and the ends of the tools you’re using – don’t come within 10 feet of power lines. (Please note that you must allow even greater distance for safety near higher voltage power lines.)
Never attempt to trim any vegetation growing near power lines. Only specially trained line-clearing professionals should work around power lines. When hiring landscapers or yard workers to trim your trees, remember to ask if they are licensed, insured and qualified to trim vegetation around power lines.
Download our "How keeping trees away from power lines improves your electric service" brochure for more smart landscaping tips and information about FPL's vegetation management program.
FPL Tree Facts
- FPL operates more than 45,000 miles of overhead power lines surrounded by approximately seven million trees.
- Trees are among the most common causes of power outages and flickers.
- Each year FPL trims trees along thousands of miles of power lines throughout the state.
- FPL’s preventive maintenance plan calls for clearing main power lines every three years and neighborhood lines every six years, on average.
- The Arbor Day Foundation has recognized FPL as a Tree Line USA utility for twelve consecutive years.
- Because we care about the health of trees, FPL follows the International Society of Arboriculture and American National Standard Institute pruning guidelines.