Can Power Companies Trim Trees on My Property? Updated 2024

In this blog post, we will delve into the topic of tree service providers on private properties in addition to answer the question of “Can Power Companies Trim Trees on My Property?” We will explore when power companies are allowed to trim trees, who holds the responsibility for trimming trees near power lines, and whether property owners can handle tree trimming themselves. Additionally, we will provide guidance on what steps to take in the event of a power line falling on your house or a tree falling on a power line. Lastly, we will touch how tree service providers assist utilities with tree removal. Let’s dive in and gain a better understanding of these crucial aspects.

Understanding Power Company Rights

Power companies possess the authority to trim trees on private properties when they pose a threat to the power lines along streets or utility lines connecting homes to the road. This authority is established through easements, legal rights that allow power companies to utilize specific portions of private land for their intended purposes. Easements are typically recorded in public records and outlined in property deeds.

Power companies are bound by the National Electrical Safety Code, which mandates maintaining a minimum clearance between trees and power lines. The required clearance distance varies based on the voltage of the line and the type of tree involved. For instance, high-voltage transmission lines might necessitate up to 50 feet of clearance, while low-voltage distribution lines may require a minimum of 10 feet.

Accessing and Notifying Property Owners

Power companies are not permitted to trim trees on your property without prior notification. They typically have vegetation management programs that specify the timing and locations for tree pruning throughout the year. Property owners receive advance notices via mail, phone calls, or door hangers. These notifications explain the reasons for accessing the trees, the planned actions, and provide contact information should any questions or concerns arise.

While property owners have the right to negotiate or seek legal advice if they disagree with the power company’s plan, it’s important to note that power companies hold the final authority in determining the necessary actions to protect their lines and ensure service reliability. Refusing to cooperate or interfering with their work may result in legal consequences or liability for any damages caused by the trees.

Compensation and Alternatives

Power companies are generally not obligated to compensate property owners for tree trimming. However, they are required to restore the property to its original condition once the work is completed. This includes cleaning up debris and filling any holes created during the trimming process.

Some power companies may offer incentives or alternatives to tree trimming. For example, they may propose relocating power lines underground or away from the trees, but the associated costs may be the responsibility of the property owner. In certain cases, power companies might provide vouchers or rebates for planting new trees that are compatible with power lines.

Protecting Your Trees

Property owners can take proactive measures to minimize conflicts and protect their trees from unnecessary trimming. Here are some recommendations:

Plant suitable trees in appropriate locations

Choose low-growing, slow-growing, and drought-tolerant tree species. Avoid planting tall, fast-growing, or brittle trees near power lines. Seek advice from local nurseries or extension services for tree recommendations specific to your area.

Regular tree pruning

Maintain the health and shape of your trees by scheduling regular pruning sessions at least once a year. Remove any dead, diseased, or damaged branches that may potentially interfere with power lines. Hiring a certified arborist or tree care professional ensures safe and proper pruning techniques.

Call before you dig

Contact the 811 service before initiating any tree planting or landscaping activities near power lines. This free service will help locate and mark any underground utilities on your property, preventing accidental damage or service outages.

Protecting Your Trees During Trimming

If power companies need to trim your trees, you can request that they follow certain best practices to minimize the impact on the trees. Here are some suggestions:

Directional pruning

Ask power companies to utilize directional pruning techniques, which involve cutting branches to create clearance between the trees and power lines. This approach preserves the natural form and health of the tree, although it may result in Y-shaped or L-shaped notches in the branch structure.

Proper cuts

Request power companies to make clean and smooth cuts at the branch collar, the swollen area where the branch connects to the trunk. This promotes faster healing of the tree and reduces the risk of decay or infection.


Advocate for the presence of a qualified arborist or forester during the trimming process. Their expertise ensures that power company workers adhere to industry standards and guidelines, minimizing potential damage to the trees.

How Tree Service Providers Assist Utilities with Tree Removal

Tree service providers play a crucial role in supporting utilities with tree removal and maintenance tasks. Their expertise and specialized services contribute to the safety and reliability of power lines. Here are some ways in which tree service providers assist utilities:

Professional Assessment

Tree service providers offer expert advice on whether a tree needs to be removed or not. They assess the health, condition, and location of trees to determine the potential risks they pose to power lines.

Safe and Efficient Tree Removal

Tree service providers possess the necessary equipment, knowledge, and techniques to perform safe and efficient tree removal. They ensure that trees are removed in a controlled manner, minimizing the risk of damage to power lines and surrounding structures.

Proper Disposal and Site Restoration

After removing a tree, tree service providers take care of the proper disposal of tree debris. They also restore the site to its original condition, leaving it clean and free from any remnants of the removed tree.

Alternative Solutions

In some cases, tree service providers can propose alternatives to tree removal. For instance, they may suggest relocating power lines underground or away from trees, or planting new tree species that are more compatible with power lines.

Preventative Maintenance

Tree service providers offer ongoing tree maintenance services, including pruning, fertilization, pest control, disease management, and drought management. These proactive measures help prevent tree-related issues that could potentially disrupt power lines.

By engaging the services of a reputable tree service provider, utilities can ensure that their tree removal needs are handled professionally and effectively. They have expertise, equipment, and knowledge. They make power lines safer and more reliable


Power companies can trim trees near lines with notice. Compensation for tree trimming is generally not provided, but power companies are responsible for restoring the property after the work is completed. Property owners can take proactive measures to protect trees, such as choosing suitable species and scheduling regular pruning. Tree service providers assist utilities by offering professional assessments, safe tree removal, proper disposal, and preventative maintenance. Working together ensures a reliable power supply while preserving the beauty of trees.


Who is responsible for trimming trees around power lines?

The electric utility or power company is responsible for trimming trees around power lines.

What happens if a tree touches a power line?

If a tree touches a power line, it can create a hazardous situation that may result in power outages, electrical fires, or injury.

Can I touch the power line going to my house?

No, it is extremely dangerous to touch a power line going to your house as it carries high voltage electricity that can cause severe injury or even be fatal.

Who is responsible for cutting overhanging tree branches in Georgia?

In Georgia, the property owner is typically responsible for cutting overhanging tree branches that extend onto their property from a neighboring property.

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