Our arborists use lateral pruning methods; cutting tree branches back to the lateral or parent limb. 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 power lines. These popular pruning methods were developed by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), and approved by the National Arborist Association, the National Arbor Day Foundation and the Metro Tree Ordinance.
We only prune 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 prune trees and other vegetation to maintain EPB Fiber Optics lines, and the existing right-of-way. We prune all weak, damaged or dead limbs that hang above conductors. Pruning exceptions include low-growing trees (dogwoods, redbuds, ornamentals) and landscape quality trees less than 6 inches in diameter.
If you have a tree growing directly under power lines, we encourage you to let us remove it. We’ll cut the tree down, grind the smaller limbs, and cut the logs into fireplace lengths – all at no charge. As a property owner, you’re responsible for trees that interfere with service lines that run from a transformer pole to your home. But we’ll be happy to lower your service line to allow your tree contractor to prune and remove foliage, and then reinstall service at no charge.
A good rule of thumb is to look at the tree’s label to find its mature height, then plant it that same distance away from power lines and equipment. When you find the spot where you’d like to plant the tree, look up to see if there are any power lines or equipment overhead. And be sure to call 811 before you dig to ensure you don’t hit buried utility lines. An EPB Energy Pro can also offer advice on where, when and how to plant different varieties of trees and shrubs properly, and safely. If you’d like a free consultation with an EPB Energy Pro Arborist, please submit a request.
After you’ve found the spot where you’d like to plant, it’s best to do two simple things before you start digging. First, look up for any overhead power lines. You never want to plant directly under overhead power lines. And second, call 811 to find out if there are any utility lines buried underground. Both of these important steps could protect you from problems down the road.
Trees will be pruned a minimum clearance of 10 feet from power lines. Limbs may be pruned further from higher voltage lines. Limbs overhanging lines will be pruned as high as possible. We will also 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 Certified Utility Arborists 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.
Watch these helpful videos for more information on vegetation management.