Planting Guidelines

Stay safe and help improve reliability by following these important guidelines. Consider the mature size before planting, and never obstruct PEC’s access to electrical equipment.

Right tree, right place

As a homeowner, you want your trees to live long, healthy lives. So do we. Trees contacting power lines can cause fires, power outages, or electric shock. To ensure reliable electric service, our team trims trees and vegetation away from power lines and equipment on a three to five-year cycle — which means, if you’ve planted trees, bushes, or plants directly under electric lines, they’re at risk of being removed.

You can help protect your plants. Never allow trees, bushes, or plants of any size to grow directly under electric lines. Before planting, consider the mature size of the species you’ve selected. For example, a 4-foot tall, 2-foot wide tree planted today could end up 60 feet tall and 30 feet across when fully grown. Use the diagram below as a reference when thinking about right tree, right place.

Diagram showing safe distances of tree planting from utility poles

The Texas Forest Service recommends these trees for Central Texas:

15 to 20 feet tall

  • American smoke tree
  • Texas or Mexican redbud
  • Desert willow

25 to 50 feet tall

  • Lacey oak
  • Mexican plum
  • Bigtooth maple

60 to 100 feet tall

  • Cedar elm
  • Bald cypress
  • Bur oak

Call 811 before you dig

If you’re digging 16 inches or deeper anywhere in your yard, call Texas811 first — it’s the law, and it can save your life. Injury and power outages can occur when metal tools contact buried electric line. Other hazards like water and sewage, telecom, and oil and gas lines could also be buried underground.

When you call 811, their staff will come to your location and mark all underground equipment for free. Make a request by calling 800-344-8377 or visiting Texas811. You must contact them at least two working days in advance before you plan to dig.

Planting near pad-mounted transformers


In areas with underground electric service, do not plant shrubs or other vegetation around pad-mounted transformers or otherwise hide or block access. Obstructions near this equipment will make maintenance work hazardous or difficult for crews and may increase outage restoration times. Ten feet of clearance is needed in front of equipment so crews can safely open it, and 5 feet on each side allows easy access. Some large pad-mounted electric equipment requires 10 feet of clearance in the front and back.