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Tree Pruning Tips

May 12, 2017

Tree trimming worker high up in a bucket truck

Spring is a time of growth and rebirth, especially trees that endured a harsh and icy winter. As you begin thinking about planting new trees around your property, our vegetation management team encourages you to plant the right tree in the right place.

Please consider the tree's height and crown spread - which is the distance the branches will spread away from the trunk - when the tree is fully mature, before planting. If you are considering planting under or next to overhead power lines, we ask that you plant trees that have a mature height of up to 25 feet. Check out a list of power line-friendly trees.

There is nothing like the ice storm that struck Eugene in mid-December to remind us how important it is to prune trees near power lines. Pruning trees is important for customer safety and the reliable delivery of electricity to your home or business. Regular pruning is also important for the health of your trees. 

"We operate on a four-year cycle where we inspect our power lines and the trees near them, and we then prune with the hope of getting the trees and vegetation to hold four years," said Julie Nuttall, EWEB's vegetation management supervisor.

If there are any fast-growing trees or vegetation that will not hold for the entire four-year cycle, we will revisit the "hot spot" two years after the original inspection. The pruning clearances are based on tree species, growth rate and the location of the tree.

We follow the American National Standards Institute A300 pruning standards, known as "directional pruning," which directs the growth away from power lines. Julie's team of three foresters and 11 contract crews pruned approximately 300 line miles worth of trees in 2016.

Trees in the vicinity of overhead utility lines could be potentially hazardous, but pruning them by yourself is also dangerous. If you contact our vegetation management department at (541) 685-7000, a forester will come out and evaluate your trees.

"If we determine the tree to be a good candidate for removal, we will work out the details with the customer and have a voucher we can offer to replace it with a power line-friendly tree," Julie said.