Tips for safe tree planting

SAN DIEGO – Many people like to improve the environment by planting a tree. SDG&E reminds its customers and landscapers to plant the “Right Tree in the Right Place” and to practice safe digging by calling 8-1-1, a free service to identify area utility lines, before planting.

“Healthy trees help clean the air we breathe, prevent erosion and conserve watersheds,” said John Jenkins, vice president of Electric Engineering and Construction. “We want to make sure our customers stay safe as they get to work planting a tree. First, choose a spot where there are no power lines or utility boxes nearby. Second, call 8-1-1 to make sure you’re not going to accidentally damage any utility lines in the ground below – water, electric, gas, or cable.”

Trees play an integral part in creating a cleaner, greener and healthier future, and SDG&E has built an award-winning vegetation management team. The team has earned the Arbor Day Foundation’s distinction as a Tree Line USA® Utility for the last 15 years, and the squad takes great care to trim the trees within SDG&E’s service community to help reduce the risk of tree-related power outages, fire and other impacts to the energy grid.

Customers can help by being mindful of energy infrastructure before planting a tree. SDG&E asks that all customers consider the future growth of the tree in mind when identifying a safe planting spot.

As trees grow, their branches and roots spread out, so avoid planting them too close to overhead power lines or over underground electric lines, natural gas pipes or cables. Take the time to properly select a tree that is not only aesthetically pleasing but is safe to plant in your area. Don’t plant shrubs directly in front of SDG&E equipment and maintain the grade (or slope) of the soil so water drains away from equipment.

At least two days before the start of digging, dial 8-1-1 to reach underground service alert. By calling 8-1-1, contractors and customers will receive visual markings for all electric lines, natural gas pipes and cables in the area to help avoid damaging any infrastructure while digging.

If at any time there is concern of a gas emergency, immediately evacuate the area where the leak is suspected and from a safe location call SDG&E at (800) 411-7343. For more safety information, visit

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