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Will EPB leave an unshapely or misshaped tree?

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Protecting a tree from becoming burned or entangled in power lines is actually for the health of the tree in the long run and of course it helps prevent power outages caused by falling trees and branches. In addition, and most important, vines and trees touching lines can be hazardous. We trim only enough of a tree to prevent power lines and the public from being endangered. It's possible to prune a tree into various shapes when you prune correctly based on the tree's age and species, and a tree can remain healthy and safe for many years. We always trim in ways that redirect new growth away from power lines.

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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.

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.

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.

Our professionals, both on staff and contractors, have arboriculture certifications and extensive experience specific to the utilities industry. EPB contracts only with qualified tree companies that meet strict specifications. These contractors follow the National Electric Safety Code and ANSI A-300 Guidelines as endorsed by the National Arbor Day Foundation and the International Society of Arboriculture.

For other questions, get in touch with us