If you’re beginning to plan your fall garden, don’t leave out calling 811 as part of you pre-planting preparation!

Call Before You Dig

No matter the reason—planting, building, home improvements—make sure to call before you dig! You’re not only keeping yourself and your neighbors safe by doing so; you’re avoiding potential costly damage to gas, water, electric, cable and other utility lines. Repairs to these structures could come out of your pocket, along with potential fines you’d be required to pay.

Don’t make risky assumptions about what projects warrant a call to 811. Even the smallest of jobs, like planting shrubs and trees, require a call. Calling 811 before every digging job to have your underground utility lines marked is free, so there’s no reason not to call. The marked lines show you the approximate location of underground lines, so you’ll know what’s below and where NOT to dig.

When to Call

Call 811 a few days prior to digging. Tell the operator where you’re planning to dig and what type of work you ‘ll be doing, and they’ll notify the affected local utilities of your location and your intent to dig. Within two business days, excluding holidays and weekends, a locator will come mark the approximate location of your underground lines, pipes and cables. Then you can proceed with your project, knowing you’re in the clear.

For more information about this free service or to make an online request for utilities to be marked, visit

texas811.org, quick dial 811 or call 800-545-6005.

Other Things to Keep in Mind

Making sure your landscaping won’t block padmount transformers (big green boxes) or grow into electric line easements can help prevent outages, provide better access for quicker repairs and limit potential damage to equipment. Plant trees and shrubs away from power lines, so branches won’t grow into the easement area, risking removal during power line maintenance, repair or replacement. Keep areas clear around padmount transformers. Plant flowers and shrubs at least 3 to 4 feet away from the back and sides of padmount transformers, and 12 feet from the front.

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