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Proactive Tree Trimming Helps Keep the Lights On


Did you know that trees are a leading cause of power outages? In fact, when trees and power lines touch it could create a dangerous situation for anyone nearby.  

To provide safe and reliable electric service for customers, trees and vegetation must be properly maintained and kept clear of electrical equipment. That’s why FirstEnergy’s Vegetation Management Program is designed to control trees, shrubs and brush growing along our transmission and distribution rights-of-way. We complete this proactive tree trimming work on a regular cycle, which helps prevent tree-related outages, especially during severe weather.

How Trees are Trimmed

With power line clearance and the health of the tree in mind, FirstEnergy’s tree care professionals use “directional” pruning techniques developed by the National Arborist Association and published by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Directional pruning is also the industry standard endorsed and promoted by the National Arbor Day Foundation and the International Society of Arboriculture.

Directional pruning removes entire branches and limbs back to the main trunk of the tree, taking advantage of strong points in the tree’s structure. This helps direct future tree growth away from power lines and minimize weak re-growth. Branches growing away from electric lines or facilities are usually left undisturbed.

Directionally pruned trees may look odd at first; however, in the long run, such trees are less susceptible to decay. They are also less likely to drop branches and cause damage during storms. In fact, compared to other methods such as topping and stubbing, directional pruning is better for the protection of the tree’s health while helping to ensure reliable electric service.

How You Can Help

You can help prevent service interruptions and minimize the need for pruning in the future by selecting the right tree for the location. Avoid planting any tree directly underneath power lines, and make sure any tree planted within 20 feet of neighborhood power lines is a variety that will grow to a mature height of 25 feet or less.

Refer to the diagram below and visit for additional guidelines and a list of trees to avoid.

Finally, if you see a tree growing too close to our equipment, you can let us know by completing our online form or calling your utility company. A crew will be dispatched to assess the situation and determine if the tree needs attention before the next scheduled trimming.

Learn more about FirstEnergy’s Vegetation Management Program and commitment to providing safe and reliable electric service at


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