Tree and limb contact with power lines is one of the most frequent causes of outages. Members can reduce interruptions and prevent outages with proper tree selection, planting, and maintenance.
Where to Plant
The right tree planted in the right location provides environmental, economic, and aesthetic benefits for the property owner and the community. To maintain the beauty of your landscaping, public safety, and reliability of electric service, it’s important to ensure that any tree planting does not interfere with any overhead or underground utility lines.
A minimum 15-foot clear zone is required on both sides of the utility pole. Tree height and width at maturity must be considered before digging the planting hole to ensure the tree will not grow into the power line route (clear zone).
Call Before You Dig state and federal laws require marking of all underground utilities before any excavation. Regardless of where you are planting, call Gopher State One Call to request a locate several days before digging. Call 811 or 1-800-252-1166. Facility marks are valid for 14 calendar days.
The Right Tree
The Right Tree: A Guide to Proper Tree Selection and Planting Near Power Lines is an informative booklet covering tree size, location, species, and care. It includes expert information from the University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Download a copy of The Right Tree.
Certain species of trees, both deciduous and coniferous, are better for planting near power lines, some of which can be found in both shrub and tree form. Nursery professionals can help determine the best options, which may include:
|American Smoketree||Nannyberry Viburnum|
|Cherry – Pin or Sargent||Panicle Hydrangea|
|Dogwood – Pagoda or Grey||Plum – Princess Kay or American|
|Lilac – Japanese, Peking, or Dwarf Korean||Serviceberry – Apple or Allegheny|
|Magnolia – Star or Loebner||White Fringe Tree|
Help Our Butterflies, Hummingbirds, Honey Bees, and Bats
Plant flowering shrubs, wildflowers, and native grasses to give pollinators food and nesting sites so they can transfer pollen to create fruits, nuts, and flowers.
Here are great resources for creating pollinator-friendly spaces:
Vegetation Maintenance Required
The National Electric Safety Code, which sets guidelines for the safeguarding of utility workers and the general public in relation to electrical equipment, requires the maintenance of proper tree clearance in the utility easement.
Section V - General Rules And Conditions of Service
By receiving the electric service from Connexus Energy, the member is deemed to consent to Connexus Energy’s entrance on the member’s property to trim, cut, or remove trees and other vegetation, including the application of approved herbicides, as Connexus Energy determines to be necessary for its line maintenance program.
Connexus Energy is obligated and committed to providing safe and reliable power to our members, employees and the general public by adhering to the maintenance guidelines.
Systematic Line Maintenance
Connexus Energy conducts a systematic vegetation maintenance program to provide reliable electrical service along with safe operating conditions. In order to achieve both, routine vegetation activities are completed on a regular maintenance cycle of approximately every five to eight years.
2023 Scheduled Routine Maintenance Tree Trimming Cycle
Connexus Energy will trim, cut, or remove the tree that, in its judgment, may cause an interruption in service, endanger Connexus Energy electric lines, present a safety hazard. Connexus Energy may also utilize approved herbicides in its line maintenance program. Connexus Energy will make a reasonable effort to inform members of its line maintenance program prior to starting the work.
Where possible, offending trees shall be removed entirely. Tree trimming must provide at least 10 feet of clearance from Connexus Energy’s conductors, provided, however, that Connexus Energy reserves the right to trim, cut, or remove trees farther than 10 feet from Connexus Energy’s conductors, if Connexus Energy determines that this additional clearance is necessary to accomplish the purposes of its line maintenance program. Any tree trimming, cutting, or removal shall conform to any recorded easements.
What to Expect
1. Automated phone message
If your property falls within the systematic routine vegetation maintenance schedule, you will receive an automated phone message from Connexus Energy with the name and phone number for the certified tree inspector that will be working in your neighborhood.
2. Door hanger with instructions
After your trees have been evaluated by the contracted tree inspector, you will receive a notice on your door with details of the work to be done if trimming is required. To avoid delays, please thoroughly review the door hanger and respond to your tree inspector in a timely manner according to the instructions.
3. Disposal of brush
Connexus Energy will dispose of the brush generated from the scheduled maintenance trimming and leave on site wood greater than four inches in diameter cut into manageable lengths. Any dead or diseased tree debris is the property owner’s responsibility to discard of, in accordance with state or local guidelines.
If you are concerned that branch or a tree is too close to a power line, call us to inspect the vegetation clearance. Do not go near or touch a tree touching a power line. In such cases where a property owner request a tree or branch removed, and Connexus Energy’s electric wires present an obstacle, Connexus Energy will assess and solely determine which action to take, during regular working hours, (1) remove the lines temporarily while the work is being done by the owner or their licensed tree contractor, or (2) trim the tree/branch to an approved distance from the power line leaving the remaining portion of the tree and the clean-up work to be done by the owner; in both cases, no charge will be assessed to the owner.
Storm Damaged Trees
If trees have been damaged by a storm, cutting and trimming will be done at the discretion of Connexus Energy in order to remove the danger and repair the lines. Clean-up work and any yard damage, including ruts from equipment or damage to other trees resulting from falling limbs/trees, shall be the responsibility of the property owner/member.
Connexus Energy is not responsible for the following: