Vegetation Management

EPB strives to maintain natural beauty while helping prevent outages.

Why We Trim Trees

Vegetation is one of the leading causes of outages in our electric system because high wind, ice, lightning and heavy rain cause trees and limbs to fall which can down power lines. EPB strives to maintain the natural beauty of trees and shrubs while at the same time ensuring your safety and preventing electrical line damage and potential outages.

Click here to read more or download our Vegetation Management brochure. 

What & Where to Plant:

  • Call before you dig - you are required 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.
  • 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 to 20’ or less in height are ideal, such as Dogwoods and Crape Myrtles.
  • Trees that mature to 40’ or less, such as Birches and Spruces, need to be located 30’ 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.

What, When & How We Trim

  • EPB trims year round along our thousands of miles of electric lines.
  • EPB only trims trees that pose a potential hazard to primary power lines. Sometimes this means trimming trees on private property, which state law allows us to do when necessary.
  • We do not trim trees interfering with service lines (wires typically running from a transformer pole to a building), which include electric and fiber optics, as these are your responsibility.
  • We trim only enough of a tree to prevent power lines and the public from being endangered.
  • Trees will be trimmed to 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.
  • EPB’s arborists use lateral trimming methods—cutting tree branches back to the parent limb – as well as directional pruning to protect the health of trees and redirect growth away from power lines.
  • Contracted arborists 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.

Additional Questions?

If you see a tree posing an immediate, serious, or dangerous threat to the electric system, call 423-648-1372 and ask to speak with the EPB Vegetation Management department. We’ll be happy to talk with you and answer your questions.