Trees enhance our homes and provide shade and privacy. However, trees coming into contact with powerlines can interrupt power supply and bring lines down, particularly during storms and high winds. To help prevent this happening and to ensure the safety and reliability of your power supply, you need to Plant Smart.
Plant Smart is a vegetation management program developed through an ongoing partnership between Ergon Energy and Greening Australia Queensland to educate the community about planting appropriate trees and shrubs under powerlines.
Before you plant
Before planting, consider how high and how wide your tree will grow and, if planting near powerlines, choose a low-growing, powerline-friendly species. Your Plant Smart nursery should be able to recommend a selection of plants from which to choose or you can download your local council brochure for a list of powerline-friendly plants for your area.
Before you plant:
- We recommend that you check with your local council's policy for street planting as it may differ from this guideline. Residents who wish to plant trees on council-controlled land in locations other than streets or council footways may need to obtain written permission.
- Check with your council for your local planting guidelines, especially if planning to plant on your council footway.
- Consider the location of overhead and underground services, including the service line to your home. Call 'Dial before you dig' on 1100 to request information about underground cables on or near your property.
- Consider carefully which type of tree you should plant. Choose a powerline-friendly plant - check with your local Plant Smart nursery or council for recommendations.
- Plan where you are going to plant. Plants must be at least three metres from Ergon Energy poles. Shrubs or small trees can be planted one metre inside the kerb where the council footway is a minimum of four metres wide. Allow for at least a two metre gap between the service wires to your home and the height of mature trees.
If you notice trees or other vegetation encroaching on powerlines or power poles, contact us on 13 10 46 (7.00am - 6.30pm, Mon - Fri) so that we can come and check the situation and rectify it if necessary.
Some trees just aren’t suited to growing near powerlines. In general, trees which grow fast and tall are the most hazardous, as well as those which tend to drop large branches during storms. Where a plant is assessed as posing too great a risk to electrical safety or power supply, our contractors will negotiate with the landholder to remove the plant. Planting the wrong plant near powerlines may eventually cause an increase to the cost of electricity supply and presents an unnecessary safety risk.
Regular culprits of power interruptions and safety hazards include:
- Bamboo species
- Tall palms
- Climbing vines
- Tall Eucalyptus species
- Camphor Laurel (Cinnamomum camphora)
- Pepperina/Peppercorn tree (Schinus molle var. areira.).
Additionally, there are known varieties of trees which don’t perform well in storms and cyclones, these include:
- Yellow flame tree (Peltophorum pterocarpum)
- African mahogany (Khaya senegalensis)
- River blue gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis)
- Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)
- Pink trumpet tree (Tabebuia impetiginosa).
For more information on cyclone prone species, see the Greening Australia Cyclone Yasi Report.