Tree Maintenance Program

Clearing the Way for Power.

Long before storms threaten, Jackson EMC has been working to reduce the possibility you’ll be without power. Our crews work year-round to clear the way for power by trimming and removing trees and vegetation that could cause your next power outage.

Why We Clear

Trees are great assets to any community, but when they grow into electrical lines, they can create safety hazards and disrupt service. During high winds, strong thunderstorms or snow or ice storms, limbs and even whole trees can fall on electric lines, tearing down energized lines and equipment. Broken limbs can cause outages just by making contact with electric lines and equipment.

The water, sap and chemicals in trees are excellent electricity conductors. If a tree has grown into a power line, power can travel to the ground and create an electrocution hazard. Trees and power lines can also cause fires.

Fewer tree-related outages means improved service reliability to all of Jackson EMC’s members.

What We Clear

We proactively remove trees that threaten our more than 13,000 miles of power lines, trim back branches that could cause outages and remove shrubbery under primary distribution lines, to help keep the lights on in homes like yours.

We maintain an area clear of all vegetation directly under the line and 15 feet on either side, to keep an open maintenance corridor and permit visual inspection of the line.

But the amount of trimming required also depends how fast a particular species will regrow new branches, how much branches will sway in the wind and the voltage carried by the line.

When We Clear

Jackson EMC trims and mows around primary distribution or “feeder” lines that carry electricity from substations to neighborhoods and secondary lines that run from those every four years.

Trimming the entire length of a power line on a regular basis – instead of trimming individual locations – ensures the integrity of the power line.

How We Clear

We consider several factors when pruning a tree for line clearance, in priority order: public and right of way worker safety, service reliability, correct arboriculture pruning techniques, and, finally, aesthetics.

Who Does the Clearing?

Jackson EMC employs independent, tree-trimming contractors to maintain its right of way. The contractors are professionals in the field of utility arboriculture and use proven industry-standard pruning techniques, proper tools and safety practices.

All contractor crews are supervised by Jackson EMC personnel. When trees are being trimmed, Jackson EMC’s supervisors will be in the area and a notice that the contractor is working for Jackson EMC will be posted on all contractor vehicles.

Tree Safety

Never attempt to trim or remove a tree that has power lines running through it. If you discover trees growing into lines, please call your local Jackson EMC office to report it.

Planting the Right Trees

Jackson EMC encourages developers, builders and members to plant the “right tree in the right place.” This means planting power line-friendly trees near high-voltage power lines – trees that do not grow taller than 15 feet and won’t pose a threat to high-voltage power lines.

When landscaping, building a fence or other structure, please remember that cooperative employees need clear access to those big green boxes, which are pad-mounted transformers for underground lines. Keep at least 10 feet clear in front of the opening side of the transformer, and three feet on either side. If the transformer fails and needs to be worked on or replaced, repair time could be increased if crews have to remove any landscaping in their way.

Our Crews Work Year-Round

Jackson EMC uses directional trimming to maintain clearances between trees and power lines. Directional trimming is recommended by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Arbor Day Foundation.

This pruning technique trains the tree to grow away from power lines by removing only the branches that come in contact with the wires. Rather than cutting limbs back to unsightly and unnatural stubs, branches are selectively pruned back to the center of the trunk where trees normally shed them. This type of trimming retains much of the tree’s natural crown and can better protect trees from attacks from diseases and insect

  • Branches within 15 feet of a line – typically pruned back to the tree trunk.
  • Trees growing under and adjacent to power lines – overhanging and interfering side branches are removed to gain necessary clearance.
  • Trees growing directly underneath wires – any branches that may interfere with our wires from below are removed; if more than a third of the crown must be removed, the entire tree will be removed.
  • Dead, diseased or leaning trees – trees or parts of trees are removed if they pose a threat to power lines.
  • Trees/shrubs in front of pad-mounted transformers – ten feet clear in front of the opening side of pad-mounted transformers, those big green boxes that operate as transformers for underground lines, and three feet on either side.

For most trees, pruning doesn’t affect the health of the tree. However, in cases where trees need to be heavily trimmed to keep a safe clearance distance from power lines, removing the tree may be a better option than leaving it susceptible to disease or death.