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Planting Near Poles and Wires
updated: Mar 15, 2014, 2:05 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

I love palm trees and want to turn my backyard into a relaxing jungle oasis themed area. There is a utility pole with lots of wires in the corner of my yard that I would like to mask from sight with palm trees. How close can I plant to this utility pole and wires? Where would I find out such information (I don't know who owns the pole- it has both power lines and telephone/cable wires on it).


Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 502967 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 02:20 PM

Wait until the drought is over!


 YIN YANG agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 02:49 PM

If you want full-grown palms, contact me!
Guess the cost would be more, but ... Free if you remove them. Haven't watered them in years; they're out of the irrigation loop and they're healthy.


 COMMENT 502978P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 02:50 PM

good question, sorry I can't help with the placement issue.


 COMMENT 502985 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 02:58 PM

If you plant them to close the utility company will come and trim them down. I think it is 4 feet from the wires.


 COMMENT 502987 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 03:00 PM

Your kidding right. You can't have a jungle in the desert. It needs massive amounts of humidity and water and your not going to find that in Sb which is a desert and in a stage 4 drought.


 COMMENT 502988 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 03:01 PM

If yhe pole has power lines then it is owned by Edison. Contsct them and ask for Field Engineering Group. They should be able to give you their setback requirements over the phone without requiring a field visit.

It would help them if you could find the pole ID tag number...usually an embossed strip or tag sbout 7 feet up.


 BULLSEYEB agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 04:05 PM

Wow, 988, that was a very complete answer. Nice job. This is what Edhat is all about!


 COMMENT 503062P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 04:52 PM

Document everything (name of person, date, etc) of your conversation with Edison. There's no continuity or accountability with local branch of SCE.


 COMMENT 503064P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 04:54 PM

OP, you need bird of paradise for your tropical look!
If you want to dig some out, I've got lots. Post an ad in Classifieds and I will respond.


 COMMENT 503086P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 06:21 PM

there are a lot of plants that provide that jungle look without needing huge amounts of water. Some palms, strelitzias, lots more.


 COMMENT 503090 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 06:33 PM

I deal with PG&E on property in the Sierra Nevada.

They come out each spring and trace a circle 10 feet away from my power pole and then denude the circle.

Then they inspect the trees growing under the wires for the length of my property and trim them when they get close to the wires.

Drawback - oftentimes the contract trimmers use the cudgel rather than the scalpel.


 FRESHPAVEMENT agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-16 06:57 AM

The answer is 8,000 miles. Move to the jungle in Panama or Nicaragua or Costa Rica and have at it. Just don't do it here in the drought-stricken portion of North America.


 COMMENT 503177 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-16 07:47 AM

My neighbors planted a palm jungle in their back yard several years ago and now areas where I use to grow organic food year round in MY backyard are completely shaded by their palms. They planted heavily in the setback as well as into the middle of their yard. So, please be mindful of how tall your palms will get and how they will affect your neighbor's right to sunlight down the years. Thank you!


 COMMENT 503200 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-16 08:40 AM

Please consider the drought. There are ways you can get a jungle look without the water sucking types of plants that are typically in a jungle setting. LOTS of succulents, and succelents are so varied that you can make it LOOK lush (think Lotusland) and birds of paradise and rocks strategically placed do a lot to help. I weave plastic fake plants in with my real ones and NO ONE can tell! Use water sparingly. This drought is SERIOUS.


 COMMENT 503225 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-16 09:39 AM

Large Crinum lily and Geranium Maderense are low water once they get established. My yard is a tropical paradise because of these 2 varieties. If you don't believe me, come over and check them out. I can even give you a couple if you want. Brad


 COMMENT 503236P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-16 10:07 AM

Drought! No bueno


 MARKPAT agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-16 10:28 AM

Agree with 062. We dealt with crews to remove a telephone pole for four months. At least three different crews, none of whom had communicated with former crews, and on the day of the removal (which involved the proper placement of a huge crane) the crew that came on had not communicated with any previous crews or foremen.


 COMMENT 503312P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-16 01:11 PM

We have a pole in a back corner of our yard carrying electrical, cable and phone lines. Our neighbor's avocado tree branches partially envelop it (the pole, not the lines) but the guys who come occasionally never mind. They did cut back some aggressive blackberry vines coming over from another neighbor's yard a few years ago, but that was a perk for me, as the area was too shady to produce fruit. As long as they have clear access to the pole and the pole itself is kept clear so they can climb it, I think they won't mind any landscaping you do. Don't plant anything that will get into the lines, though. In our case the lines are well above all surrounding trees (avocado, mimosa, plum). The pole attracts hawks and woodpeckers and makes for good bird watching.

BTW avocado trees are a nice top-of-the-"jungle" tree, dense shade to keep things cool, low water while looking lush, and fruit! They do drop big tough leaves though, and they prefer a mulch of their own leaves, so if downed leaves are a problem they're not good.


 COMMENT 503363 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-16 03:58 PM

If you're going to plan palms, you might want to use dwarf/ornamental palms that won't turn into 40 - 60 foot giants. Consider the European Fan Palm, Sago Palm, Pigmy Date Palm, Windmill Palm, Rhapis Palm. Also, palms that are reasonable height (less than 20 feet) include Sentry Palm, Pindo Palm, Chinese Fountain Palm. Avoid the California/Mexican Fan Palms, Queen Palms, King Palms, Date Palm, Canary Island Date Palm, etc. They'll turn into giants.


 GBOB agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-16 06:25 PM

I work with these kinds of situations frequently. There are at least two sets of wires, and the ONLY ones you need worry about are the thinner ones at the top of the group. Those are high-voltage SCE lines, and they will keep your plants at least 10' away by removing any potentially harmful vegetation. You can see this on the east side of Hitchcock near the YMCA; the tops of the street trees have been kept below the wires.

The lower grouping is Verizon, Cox, etc. and they do not trim vegetation away.

What you plant is your business, but it would not be a bad idea to consult the local and state solar-access ordinances, and contact the city or county regarding future, inevitable, drought restrictions. New plantings, even drought-tolerant species, must have water to get established.

Finally, a conversation with a design professional might help you select the best plants for your garden, and avoid pitfalls. You CAN have a tropical look with low-water plants, but it will take some careful research and planning.

Good luck!


 COMMENT 503468 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-17 07:23 AM

We went walking up in the Riviera recently and were amazed with the beautiful landscaping we saw. One home had a "Jungle Oasis" that was so nice. I'm sure they must have a high water bill but the plants need water.


 COMMENT 503483 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-17 08:27 AM

You can plant anywhere on your property. The utilities have easements where the lines run, still your property do do with as you see fit. Plant at the foot of the pole if you like. SCE will trim trees growing into lines, palm often have their heads lopped if they pose a permanent nuisance. Plant largest slowest growers you can afford. Brahea edulis, bottle palm, triangle palm. Avoid Mexican fan as they grow too fast and are just another pole in your yard after a few years. Consider undergrounding your utilities and removing pole. We paid for our neighbors too as they were past our connection and last on the line.

A knowledgeable landscape architect could steer you in the right direction. (Hint, hint).


 COMMENT 503626 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-17 02:48 PM

The title report to your property should list any easements that encumber the property, including utility easements. Yes, it it your property, but many times the easements will control any building and landscaping within them.


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