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How does EPB manage trees and vegetation?

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We coordinate the pruning of nearly 70,000 trees each year. Utilizing six foresters, 44 tree crews and 125 contract employees in the field, these experts carefully clear a path for power lines while maintaining a healthy, beautiful landscape. Plus, they work directly with customers to answer questions and address any issues well before work begins.

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Trees will be trimmed a minimum clearance of 10 feet from power lines. Limbs may be trimmed further from higher voltage lines. Limbs overhanging lines will be trimmed as high as possible. We will make every effort to eliminate weak, diseased, and dead limbs above the wires that may fall or blow into the wires.

We coordinate the pruning of nearly 70,000 trees each year. Utilizing six foresters, 44 tree crews and 125 contract employees in the field, these experts carefully clear a path for power lines while maintaining a healthy, beautiful landscape. Plus, they work directly with customers to answer questions and address any issues well before work begins.

Our arborists use lateral trimming methods; cutting tree branches back to the lateral or parent limb. If there is no lateral, the branch may need to be cut back to the trunk of the tree. Lateral pruning is healthier for trees because it helps allow the tree's natural defenses to seal the cut and prevent the spread of disease or decay. In addition, we use directional pruning that redirects the growth of the tree away from the power line. In some geographical areas, such as rural areas, we may use mechanized techniques in addition to lateral pruning.

We only trim trees that pose a potential hazard to primary power lines. These are typically the highest (and sometimes also the second-highest) lines on a pole. We also trim trees and other vegetation to maintain EPB fiber optic lines and the existing right-of-way.

We do not trim trees interfering with service lines (wires typically running from a transformer pole to a home or other building), which include telephone, cable TV, fiber optics and electric, as these are your responsibility.

If trimming around an electric service line is necessary to ensure reliable electricity into your home, we can lower the service line to enable you to more easily trim the vegetation. Call us at 423-648-1372.

Because trees grow and mature to different heights, pay special attention to where you plant each specific type in relation to power lines and poles. Trees that mature 20 feet high or less, such as Dogwoods or Crape Myrtles are ideal. Trees that mature less than 40 feet tall should be planted at least 30 feet from utility poles. Trees that mature to 60’ or more and have wide canopies, such as Oaks and Elms, need to be planted 65’ from utility poles.

It is very important to call 811 and have your underground utilities marked for free and to notify electric, gas, sewer, telephone, fiber optics, internet, and cable services at least 48 hours before you start digging.

Do not plant climbing vines near power poles or guy wires, and do not plant shrubs or vines within 3’ to the side of, or 12’ in front of, ground-mounted transformer boxes.

For other questions, get in touch with us

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