We have a climbing vine that has spread from the tree to wrap itself around the electric main to the house. Is it safe to cut it off at the base? Can the vine potentially conduct electricity to the point of the cut? Will cutting it kill it? enter image description here

  • If it could conduct electricity to the cut, it could conduct it to the ground. That's not a recommendation though. The electricity company might be interested. As for the effect of cutting it, you'd need to identify the species first, but for the vast majority of climbers only the bit detached from the roots would die
    – Chris H
    Jun 19, 2018 at 15:04
  • 3
    In most places in the United States you can contact the power company and tell them your main service lines are covered in vines and they will send a crew to clear it.
    – Matthew
    Jun 19, 2018 at 15:46
  • cutting it will kill it. roundup will too. That's a CATV wire btw, not mains, so don't worry about getting zapped. You can see a mains wire in the background, connecting to the top of the mast; it's twisted (thus wavy) and thicker than the smooth black CATV in the foreground.
    – dandavis
    Jun 19, 2018 at 18:39
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    If you're really concerned, wear gloves, use wooden-handled clippers, and don't work in the rain. Jun 19, 2018 at 23:55

3 Answers 3


Responsibility for the service drop (the wire from the utility to your house) lies with the utility. Generally the demarcation line is the splice between the service drop and the conductors leading up the mast.

Your electrical utility thus may be willing to clear these vines.

The wires are insulated, though you can't trust the insulation is perfect. The vines won't conduct enough electricity to matter. But if you cut the vines they'll die and dry out, and be far harder to pry off the line. Damage from the vines will at first be mechanical, as the weight of the vines especially if it's windy can be significant.

If you do clear the vines yourself, use a wooden ladder, wear electrician's insulating gloves, and gently unwrap the live vine without risking directly touching the insulated service drop wires. If you see flaws in the insulation, call the power company right away.



Those don't look like a power service drop. There is one in the background that you can make out the triplex. They are likely telephone and cable. A picture of where those wires terminate on the house would clear that up.

The plant is a grape vine. One of those wild ones that tends not to fruit much.


Probably not. I trimmed black cherry tree branches that were rubbing the powerline. I used a steel bowsaw while standing on an aluminum ladder. I stopped when I felt an electric "tickle" ; red warning. I left it for the power company.

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