Herbicide Frequently Asked Questions

MTE's tree and vegetation team do use herbicide as a tool to help maintain the rights-of-way (ROW). By using it on selective woody-stemmed plants, it encourages healthy vegetation growth in the ROW while proactively reducing outage opportunities. We've put together information for our members regarding how and what we use herbicides to provide affordable and reliable electricity.

Our Herbicide Program focuses on small trees growing within MTE’s ROW. If these areas become overgrown, the trees could eventually come into contact with our power lines and cause outages. We try to be proactive in keeping your lights on!

MTE contracts with professional, licensed, and certified applicators to treat woody-stemmed vegetation, i.e., saplings, within the ROW.  By targeting woody-stemmed vegetation, grasses and flowers don’t have to compete for water and sunlight and can more freely grow in the rights-of-way. This prevents the trees from becoming dangerously tall and provides easier, unobstructed access to our power lines.

No, our contractors apply a grass-friendly, non-glyphosate product (glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup) to treat the woody-stemmed vegetation; all of the products used are “restricted” and are registered and approved by the EPA and state agencies.  The products are applied using low volume, backpack-mounted equipment to aid in precise application.

There are no adverse effects to animals/livestock when the product is used according to label directions.  All applications are performed using best management practices (per the Tennessee Department of Agriculture) with aquatic-approved application practiced near bodies of water. In fact, as herbaceous plants (plants that have no persistent woody stem above ground) continue to thrive in the ROW, the food supply for insect populations and birds increases, as well for as bees, butterflies and other animals.