Safety & Security

Stay safe during spring planting

Electricity may be underground or just overhead

Spring has sprung, and Central Texans are ready to wake up and plant the flowers. Before you spruce up your yard, read through these tips to keep you and your family safe from the electricity above and below.

Planting trees

When tree limbs touch power lines, there’s increased risk of fire, electrical outages, or even death from electric shock. That’s why our staff routinely prunes or removes trees growing near power lines — and why you should consider new tree placement carefully.

Here are some handy planting guidelines to keep yourself and your trees safe:

Diagram showing safe distances of tree planting from utility poles

Planting near underground equipment

If your neighborhood doesn’t have overhead power lines, you’ve got underground power, which means you may have a pad-mounted transformer (a large green or gray box) in your yard. It might be tempting to surround it with bushes, but our lineworkers need easy access to transformers to safely restore your power during an outage.

When planting near pad-mounted transformers, leave a 10-foot clearance in front of this equipment and a 3-foot clearance around the sides and back. And be careful—call Texas811 before digging! Buried utility lines run out from these transformers in many directions.

Call before you dig

Injury and power outages can occur when metal tools contact buried electric line. If you’ll be digging 16 inches or deeper anywhere in your yard, call Texas811 first — it’s the law, and it can save your life. Texas811 staff will come to your location and mark all underground equipment for free. Make a request by calling 800-344-8377 or visiting at least two working days before you plan to dig.

Find more of our experts’ safe planting tips at