At Whatcom Tree Service, we’ve been serving the Bellingham area with tree removal needs for 30 years. As such, we’ve run into just about every problem you can find when it comes to trees. One that we’ve run into sufficiently enough to write an article about it is power lines.

Power lines and trees do not mix well. That’s the most important thing you need to know, but obviously there is more to it than that, so let’s take a look at some of the important facts you need to know about power lines, and how they interact with trees. If you’re in a situation where you have a tree that’s near or growing into a power line’s space, knowing this information will be instrumental for your safety.

Trees That are Touching Power Lines Can Become Live Conductors

This doesn’t always happen, but it can, and you really just shouldn’t take the risk of touching it to find out. A tree that’s in contact with a power line can, in fact, become electrically live. In this instance, touching the tree or even the ground around it can potentially result in an electric shock. Don’t try to solve this problem yourself—if you see a tree that’s brushing against a power line, do yourself a favor and assume that it’s a live wire.

Power Lines Can Cause a Fire When They Come Into Contact With Trees

Want another good reason not to keep trees around power lines? When a tree comes into contact with the wire, it has the potential to get so hot that it ignites a flame. This is an especially high risk in dry areas. We don’t need to tell you why flames and trees don’t mix well together.

Tree fires are most common when they come into contact with high-voltage lines. These are usually the higher power lines, and they are typically built with the intention of avoiding potential tree-related accidents. The power lines that feed your house are likely low voltage, but that doesn’t mean that accidents can’t happen. It’s a serious matter when your tree is touching a power line, so make sure you treat it as such by calling a tree removal service.

Trees Can Cause Power Outages

Did you know that about 20 percent of unplanned power outages are caused by errant trees? There are a few varying degrees of the type of damage that a tree can inflict on a power line. In a more mild scenario, a falling branch from a tree could hit a power line hard enough that it short-circuits, causing not only a power outage for yourself, but anyone else in the area who’s served by that line.

Things can get much more dire when an entire tree falls onto a power line. Short-circuiting is the least of your worries; what you really don’t want is for power lines to collapse, and this is possible when they’re crushed by enough weight.
In dire instances, a fallen tree can bring power lines to the ground, or even cause the neighboring support towers to come toppling down. This is an extremely dangerous situation and can often lead to the entire area being shut down by authorities until tree removal services and power line technicians can fix the problem. This, naturally, causes a power outage as well, and one that is more far-reaching than if a single line was short-circuited.

Trees Near Power Lines Should Be Removed Rather than Trimmed

When it comes to trees and power lines, we subscribe to the “better safe than sorry” mindset. There are many who choose to trim their trees when their branches grow too close to power lines, but it’s our opinion that trees should be removed altogether.

The biggest factor here is the safety hazard that the trimmer faces. When you leave a tree alive, it means that, over time, you consistently have to get someone into that tree and remove branches dangerously close to a live power line. Nobody should be getting near power lines unless they’re licensed professionals.

Doesn’t it sound easier to just call a professional tree removal service to ensure that you never have to deal with it again? In the best-case scenario, you’re putting someone at risk over and over, and in the worst-case scenario, the trimming isn’t adequate and any number of the problems listed above can occur. At Whatcom Tree Service, we’re trained to do this kind of work, and we’ll make sure your tree comes down safely.

Always Call a Tree Removal Service

The common factor between all the information here is that, under no circumstances should you be interacting with a tree that’s growing near, or in contact with a power line. This is something we’re serious about at Whatcom, and we have extensive experience handling this problem. If you see a tree in the Bellingham area that fits this description, contact us today.