Make sure you take any medium-voltage lines near your property into consideration before planting a tree or shrub. In particular, be sure to respect the safe planting distance indicated in the Choosing the Right Tree or Shrub guide. Start by finding out how to measure the distance to a medium-voltage line without jeopardizing your safety.

WARNING! Never let yourself or anything else (a tape measure, a tool, scaffolding or construction materials, etc.) come within three metres of a medium-voltage line.

Taking measurements safely near a medium-voltage line

Nothing could be simpler: just lay a rope on the ground along the imaginary line between two utility poles, and then measure the distance from the rope to your potential planting site. In this way, you can avoid letting yourself or anything else come too close to the line and putting your life in danger. Below are two examples explaining how to proceed.

I have already chosen a tree or shrub

Suppose that you want to plant a Ivory Silk Three Lilac. There is a medium-voltage line near your property.

Step 1. Using the Choosing the Right Tree or Shrub online tool, enter “Ivory Silk Three Lilac” in the “Name of species or variety” field and click on Search.
Step 2. In the information displayed on the screen, you’ll see that the safe planting distance for this tree is 3.5 metres. This means you must plant your honey locust 3.5 metres or farther from the power line.
Step 3. Locate the medium-voltage line closest to the spot where you want to plant your tree.
Step 4. - Lay a rope along the ground, following an imaginary line between the two poles supporting the medium-voltage line.
Step 5. Lay a second rope on the ground from the first rope to your intended planting site, making sure it forms a right angle with the first rope.
Step 6. On the second rope, measure a distance of 3.5 metres (for a Rubylace honey locust) from the intersection of the two ropes. Mark this point on the ground. You can plant your tree safely here or anywhere farther from the medium-voltage line.

I have already chosen a planting site

Suppose that you would like to plant a tree or shrub at a particular spot on your property. There is a medium-voltage line nearby.

Step 1. Locate the medium-voltage line closest to the spot where you want to plant your tree or shrub.
Step 2. Lay a rope along the ground, following an imaginary line between the two poles supporting the medium-voltage line.
Step 3. Lay a second rope on the ground from the first rope to your intended planting site, making sure it forms a right angle with the first rope.
Step 4. On the second rope, measure the distance between the intersection of the two ropes and your intended planting site. Make a note of the distance. Let’s say it’s 2.3 metres.
Step 5. Using the Choosing the Right Tree or Shrub tool, select a safe planting distance of 2.3 metres or more in the “Specified clearance” field (as measured between the planting site and the medium-voltage line). Do not enter anything in the “Name of species or variety” field. Next, select any other criteria relevant to you and click on Search.
Step 6. Read through the search results and choose a tree or shrub. You can rest easy, confident that every species listed can be planted at your desired location in complete safety.