FKEC’s Comprehensive Planting Guide

A Guide to Planting Around Power Lines and Electrical Equipment

Proper Planting: Be a Part of the Solution

In the Florida Keys we enjoy a fabulous sub-tropical climate, which encourages year-round growth of lush vegetation. As much as we love the beauty of our trees and the shade they provide, trees growing under or near power lines are a common cause of power outages and interruptions. Trees growing into power lines can also cause public safety hazards and create emergency situations.

In addition to the dangers vegetation can cause, the annual cost of clearing vegetation away from overhead power lines and underground equipment is enormous. Despite FKEC’s use of arborist cuts the constant trimming also puts a strain on the health of the trees. The purpose of this guide is to offer suggestions about which trees and shrubs might be planted near power equipment while still maintaining the 10 to 15 foot minimum safety clearance required.

Be a part of the solution and plant the right tree in the right place.

Planting Tip: Check County ordinances before planting… In most areas in Monroe County you must have authorization before planting any vegetation in the right of way. Check local ordinances before you plant near an easement.

The list of trees and shrubs contained in this book are a compilation of species selected to minimize the
potential for hazards and conflicts created when vegetation grows into overhead utility wires or near
underground equipment. The lists do not included every possible vegetation option.
*These trees and shrubs can be planted and pruned in such a way to create a good hedge or barrier

Recommended Native Florida Keys
SHRUBS
(Mature Height approximately 5-15 ft)

COMMON NAME/BOTANICAL NAME

  • Bay Cedar* – Suriana maritime
  • Beautyberry – Callicarpa americana
  • Black Torch* – Erithalis fruticosa
  • Bloodberry – Cordia globosa
  • Firebush* – Hamelia patens
  • Inkberry – Scaveola plumieri
  • Necklace Pod – Sophora tomentosa
  • Pearlberry – Callesia antillana
  • Randia – Randia aculeata
  • Rhacoma – Crossopetalum rhacoma
  • Saltbush – Baccharis halimifolia
  • Sea Ox-Eye – Borrichia arborescens
  • Sweet Acacia – Acacia farnesiana
  • Varnish Leaf – Dodonaea viscosa
  • Wild Coffee* – Psychotria sp
  • Wild Cotton – Gossypium hirsutum
  • Wild Croton – Croton linearis
  • Wild Hibiscus – Hibiscus poeppigii
  • Wild Sage – Lantana involucrata

Recommended Native Florida Keys
SMALL TREES OR SHRUBS
(Mature Height approximately 15-20+ ft)

COMMON NAME/BOTANICAL NAME

  • Cocoplum* – Chrysobalanus icaco
  • Coffee Colubrina – Colubrina arborescens
  • Darling Plum – Reynosia septentrionalis
  • False Boxwood – Gyminda latifolia
  • Gulf Greywig – Schoepfia chrysophylloides
  • Jamaica Caper – Capparis cynophallophora
  • Limber Caper – Capparis flexuosa
  • Locustberry – Byrsonima lucida
  • Marlberry* – Ardisia escallonioides
  • Mayten – Maytenus phyllanthoides
  • Myrsine* – Myrsine floridana
  • Myrtle of the River – Calyptranthes zuzygium
  • Pale Lidflower – Calyptranthes pallens
  • Pond Apple – Annona glabra
  • Red Stopper* – Eugenia rhombea
  • Rough Velvetseed – Guettarda scabra
  • Seven Year Apple* – Casasia clusiifolia
  • Varnish Leaf – Dodonaea viscosa
  • West Indies Trema – Trema lamarckianum

PLANTING TIP: Learn about vegetations’ lighting and watering needs… Before planting any new vegetation learn about lighting and watering requirements. It is good to ask nursery staff or landscaping contractors about growth rates and mature heights.

Recommended Native Florida Keys
MEDIUM TREES
(Mature Height approximately 20-30 ft)

COMMON NAME/BOTANICAL NAME

  • Bahama Strongbark – Bourreria ovata
  • Black Ironwood – Krugiodendron ferreum
  • Cinnamon Bark – Canella winterana
  • Crabwood – Ateramnus lucidus
  • Fiddlewood – Citharexylum fruticosum
  • Geiger Tree – Cordia sebestena
  • Guiana Plum – Dryptes laterifolia
  • Lancewood – Nectandra coriacea
  • Lignum Vitae – Guaiacum sanctum
  • Pitch Apple – Clusia rosea
  • Princewood – Exostema caribaeum
  • Redberry Stopper* – Eugenia confusa
  • Sea Grape* – Coccoloba uvifera
  • Soldierwood – Colubrina elliptica
  • Spanish Stopper – Eugenia foetida
  • Torchwood – Amyris elemifera
  • Velvetseed – Guettarda elliptica
  • White Stopper* – Eugenia axillaris
  • Wild Dilly – Manilkara bahamensis

Recommended Native Florida Keys
LARGE TREES
(Approximate Mature Height may exceed 30 ft)
These trees should be planted at least 30-feet away from any power equipment.

COMMON NAME/BOTANICAL NAME

  • Blolly – Guapira discolor
  • Buttonwood* – Conocarpus erectus
  • Gumbo Limbo – Bursera simaruba
  • Inkwood – Exothea paniculata
  • Jamaica Dogwood – Piscidia psicipula
  • Mahongany – Swietenia mahogoni
  • Mastic – Mastichodendron foetidissimum
  • Paradise Tree – Simarouba glauca
  • Pigeon Plum – Coccoloba diversifolia
  • Satinleaf – Chrysophyllum oliviforme
  • Silver Buttonwood* – Conocarpus erectus L.var.sericeus
  • Soapberry – Sapindus saponaria
  • Wild Tamarind – Lysiloma latisiliqua
  • Willow Bustic – Bumelia salicifolia

PLANTING TIP: Consider the mature canopy size of trees before planting… The canopy refers to the outreach size of the tree’s foliage cover. Trees with a large canopy should always be planted away from power lines to avoid their branches growing or blowing into the utility equipment

Recommended Native Florida Keys
SMALL PALMS
(Approximate Mature Height less than 20 ft)

COMMON NAME/BOTANICAL NAME

  • Buccaneer Palm – Pseudophoenix sargentii
  • Saw Palmetto – Serenoa repens

Recommended Native Florida Keys
LARGE PALMS
(Approximate Mature Height may exceed 20 ft)

COMMON NAME (Avg. Fond Length)/BOTANICAL NAME

  • Cabbage Palm (7’) – Sabal palmetto
  • FL Thatch Palm (6’) – Thrinax radiate
  • Key Thatch Palm (7’) – Thrinax morrisii
  • Paurotis Palm (10’) – Acoelorrhaphe wrightii
  • Silver Palm (5’) – Coccothrinax argentata

Commonly Used Ornamentals
(Not Recommended)
While FKEC does not encourage the use of any non-native species, we do ask you consider the mature height of any tree or shrub before planting. Listed below are the mature heights of several common Ornamentals. Before you plant any Ornamentals we suggest you confirm the plant is not considered an invasive exotic.

Classification of ornamentals can change, consult the Florida Keys Invasive Exotics Task Force at www.floridainvasives.org/plants for an up-to-date list of invasive exotics and invasive species.

Download FKEC’s Comprehensive Planting Guide (PDF)