Tree & Vegetation Management
The first thing you, as a member, should know about MTEMC's tree pruning program is that we have trained specialists in place to address any tree pruning issue that you may have. Call (877) 414-7685.
Did you know?...
Trees cause 80 percent of power outages.
Your tree could knock out power to hundreds of your fellow members.
MTEMC has a legal and moral responsibility to keep power on for all members and to keep lines clear of trees for safety's sake and reliability.
MTEMC's tree pruning methods are approved by arborists.
MTEMC is willing to replace trees in members' yards if the trees are too near power lines.
MTEMC has a designated phone number for your tree issues - (877) 414-7685.
What our Tree Crews Do
Middle Tennessee Electric's tree pruning crews are in your neighborhood once every two years to maintain our power lines and more often to maintain fast-growing trees. National Electric Safety Code (NESC) and Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) regulations require electric utilities to clear vegetation from power lines as a safety measure for our crews and our members. We maintain a right of way extending 20 feet on both sides of the power lines. We do not, however, clean up debris caused by storms. Our tree pruning maintenance crews are supervised by certified arboriculturists who follow the guidelines of urban foresters and experts from the National Arborist Association and the International Society of Arboriculture. Their work may include:
Pruning the branches growing toward lines on one side of the tree. Trees that encroach within 20 feet of the power line right of way will be pruned back.
Removing the main leader or leaders to a suitable lateral branch, only suitable for slow-growing trees located under the power line. This type of pruning is not endorsed by the ISA because it can lead to diseases and, therefore, is only done at the homeowner's request.
Trees will only be removed if they pose a threat to your electric service. However, repetitive pruning of fast-growing trees directly under power lines is costly, temporary, and ultimately damages the tree by causing it to develop internal decay. Therefore, Middle Tennessee Electric recommends that you consider removing fast-growing trees.
When a residential tree must be removed, we will replace it with another one of the homeowner's choosing. A variety of beautiful, low-growing trees are available through our tree replacement program at no cost to you. Because it is not recommended to plant trees during the growing season, Middle Tennessee Electric will plant trees from November to mid-April.
Tree & Vegetation Management FAQ
Trees appropriate for planting in/near Rights-of-Way
When planning landscaping, it should be understood that some trees have no place near power line rights-of-way or underground electric equipment. Some other tree types however, can be safely planted within and near rights-of-way. MTEMC has a list of recommendations.
Why does MTEMC have to cut trees along its primary right of way 20 feet on both sides?
When trees grow into or near power lines, they can cause power interruptions and safety concerns to you and your neighbors. MTEMC depends on a stringent pruning cycle to keep power lines free of tree growth. Pruning the entire power line on a regular basis instead of individual locations ensures an economical approach to maintaining the integrity of the power line. MTEMC's intentional approach to pruning trees means having a thorough maintenance plan; a plan that improves the safety and reliability of electric service provided to you, our member.
Does MTEMC replace trees that are removed from the right of way?
Yes, if the tree is landscaped (mowed around) on a weekly basis, MTEMC will replace it with a five-foot-tall, low-growing species planted at an approved distance from the power line at no cost to the member. (See our list of replacement trees.)
Can members prune their own trees or hire contractors to prune their trees instead of allowing MTEMC contractors to prune their trees?
No, Middle Tennessee Electric must first obtain the proper clearance required by OSHA in Ansi Z133.1. On secondary and service lines, MTEMC may choose to obtain clearance by first removing the line and then the member may prune the tree.
Does MTEMC clean up after grinding stumps along its right of way?
No, the chips are left on site and no dirt, seed, straw, etc., will be placed by MTEMC to the site.
Does MTEMC prune around electrical service lines that run from the main power line to the home?
Yes, MTEMC prunes a five-foot radius around services (from the MTEMC power line to the home) during our regular six-year pruning cycle only. MTEMC does not prune services at any other time.
Does MTEMC clean up trees after a storm?
No, MTEMC prunes trees to prevent electric outages on our system. Therefore, MTEMC wants to remove that tree before it causes an outage, not after. The tree still belongs to the member. In this case, our immediate priority is to restore power to our members.
How will members be notified that MTEMC will be pruning trees?
Work planners go into the neighborhood to meet personally with members to discuss the work. These work planners are specially trained individuals, many of them certified arborists. They have flexible schedules to maximize their ability to meet with members. If a work planner is unable to contact a homeowner, a door hanger is left that explains the pruning that must be done. A telephone number is listed on the door hanger should the member have questions or concerns or call 1-877-414-7685.
Can MTEMC legally prune trees?
Yes, MTEMC has the right and the obligation to its members to maintain any and all vegetation within its right of way. The court and legal system strongly support utilities right to trim and remove trees and or brush within and outside of the right of way.
How should trees be pruned?
Pruning should be done using the lateral pruning method, which was developed by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and approved by the National Arborist Association, and the National Arbor Day Foundation. Lateral pruning leaves the overall structure of the tree stronger and more resistant to high winds and heavy ice. Future growth is directed away from power lines. Topping trees (also known as rounding over or shaping) is NOT endorsed by ISA because it leaves trees susceptible to disease and insect infestation.
Does MTEMC prune around un-energized structures?
Yes, if vegetation around un-energized structures such as poles, guys, span guys, etc., creates a safety or reliability risk, MTEMC may remove it.