Trees poise an ever present threat to the electric system. For that reason, the Utility maintains an active and aggressive, year-round tree trimming program to ensure reliable power. Answers to some “Frequently Asked Questions” about the utility’s tree trimming program are included in the FAQ link.
Method of Trimming:
The Utility uses only "lateral" or "natural" tree trimming methods. In this method, limbs and/or branches will be cut flush with the supporting trunk or limb so that no stub is left. Studies have shown that lateral trimming is much healthier for trees than “topping” or “rounding over” methods. The Utility will not "top" a tree unless it is absolutely necessary. The Utility will not "round" trees.
The National Arbor Day Foundation, International Society of Arboriculture, Tree Care Industry Association, and other professional trade organizations recommend lateral trimming. Although the appearance of the tree can be unusual after the initial trim, the appearance quickly improves with time and growing seasons.
The premises of the property owner will be left as neat
as before the trimming. When at all possible, REU will
notify property owners of planned trimming prior to the
Exceptions: During emergencies, such as when a tree has
fallen and caused a power outage, Rockwood Electric Utility
may not be able to notify the property owner. The Utility
does not perform cleanup of trees that fall during severe
The Utility trims all trees to a
minimum of ten feet from the primary (top) conductors.
This results in a typical ground-to-sky right-of-way between
30’ depending on whether the power distribution line
is single- or three-phase. Trees that overhang the system
are trimmed as high as the worker can reach with the equipment
on site. Trees less than 6” diameter are generally
removed except for ornamental or low-profile trees that
are slow growing and are not a threat to the power system.
If a tree is obviously diseased, dying
or dead, the Utility will generally remove the tree or
trim it to the extent that it no longer is a threat to
cause a power outage. The Utility makes every effort to
contact the abutting landowner before removal. If the tree
is on private property, the Utility will work with the
property owner to safely remove the tree. The property
owner may be required to perform the clean-up.
If a property owner has a tree that is dangerously close
to power lines, the Utility will aid in the removal and/or
trimming of that tree. This is done for safety reasons.
Persons in this situation should contact the Utility for
Limbs on Service Drops:
The Utility does
not maintain clearance on limbs on the service drop. The
property owner is responsible for these trees. For your
convenience and safety, the Utility will remove a service
drop to allow an owner to trim or remove a tree adjacent
to it. This service is provided during business hours only
for no charge. Please contact the Utility for further information.
“Pruning Trees Near Electric Utility Lines”;
A Field Pocket Guide for Qualified Line-Clearance Tree
Workers; Dr. Alex Shigo; 1990.
ANSI A300 (Part 1) – 2001 Pruning; “American
National Standard for Tree Care Operations – Tree,
Shrub, and Other Woody Plant Maintenance – Standard
Rockwood Electric Utility Contractor Prequalification Application for Right-of-Way Maintenance [ view
Rockwood Electric Utility Specifications and Contract
Documents for Power Line Right of Way Clearance and Tree-Trimming;
May 2012 [ view
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