There's a black cable cutting diagonally across one side of my front lawn (askew to my house, not going towards it, also not going towards the local electric transformer or my neighbor's house). The roots of a large tree seem to be pushing it out of the ground. I called Miss Utility last month and left a message but they never called back.

What is it, and what should I do about it?

cable, ~20 feet from house, ~12 feet from electric transformer cable closeup, 14-15 inches exposed (in this section)

  • 1
    Could be underground sprinkler cable. Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 20:21

5 Answers 5


It appears to be COAX cable and it's almost certainly your (or your neighbors) CATV (i.e. Cable TV) line. These are often placed near trees and they get pushed up as the tree grows. That one is very exposed. I'd put in a service call to my provider and request it be buried properly.

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    +1 I accidentally ran over a coax line on my property and shredded it. It was part of a tangled mess that hadn't been cleaned up and tucked into the service box properly. The guy who came out apologized for the messy install and cleaned it all up. Luckily, I think I only knocked out my own cable internet. Unluckily, I had to pay for service since I damaged the line. If I had called them out to set it right before, they wouldn't have charged me, since it was their mess.
    – Bloodgain
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 2:12

Call 811 and ask them to come out and mark the yard. Often times they color code the cables to utilities and you may be able to trace this line back to the source.

I suspect it’s an old, unused cable drop that’s likely been cut out of use. Either way, 811 should hopefully help you pin it down.


looks like the wire for a pet containment system. My son has this wiring running around the perimeter of his property to contain his dogs


This might be a phone line. I once dug up a phone line that looked like this cable, and phone lines are often very shallow.

...and before anyone asks, it was located about 20 feet away from where the phone company said it was located.


My guess is a 1/2 inch drip irrigation hose.

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