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Utility Vegetation Management

Diagram showing Tree Height and Distance from Utility Lines
This graphic illustrates the distance that foliage of different height trees should be from utility poles – Source Credit:


ITC Vegetation Management
DTE Vegetation Management

ITC Vegetation Management

Vegetation Management Brochure

Preventive Maintenance
As part of our preventive maintenance program to ensure ongoing system reliability, ITC conducts aerial and ground patrols of the transmission system to identify and address potential vegetation threats before they can cause problems.

About ITC and Electric Transmission
ITC is the nation’s largest independent electric transmission company. We own, operate and maintain high voltage transmission systems in seven states.

Transmission is the bulk delivery of electrical energy from power generating plants along high voltage lines to the local distribution system of utilities serving communities.
ITC maintains an integrated vegetation management program to protect electric reliability and public safety.

Trees and high-voltage power lines are a hazardous combination. Tree interference with transmission
lines is a leading cause of electric power outages and poses a safety threat to the public.

Our society depends upon electricity, so the loss of power can bring daily life to a halt. Outages and blackouts are inconvenient, costly and potentially dangerous. The Northeast Blackout of 2003 – which started with a tree coming into contact with a power line – left 50 million people in 13 states and Ontario without power for days. Our economy suffered billions of dollars in lost productivity. Vital infrastructure such as health care facilities, financial institutions and public safety are just a few examples of essential services relying on uninterrupted power.

ITC favors removal of incompatible trees over trimming because trees that are trimmed can produce aggressive new growth. This is especially hazardous during hot summer months when transmission lines sag due to the energy load they carry.

Our Approach to Vegetation Management

To further our record of service reliability, industry-leading safety and positive interactions with communities and property owners, we look for the best approaches to preventing vegetation-caused outages and exchange ideas with other transmission owners – all toward providing safe and reliable service to communities. We communicate with residents through notices and personal contact about planned maintenance activity. Key benefits of our integrated vegetation management program include diverse, stable, natural greenways in the communities we serve.

Selective removal of incompatible species in urban, suburban and rural transmission corridors is the cornerstone of our vegetation management program. These efforts make space for grasses, wildflowers and low-growing shrubs to thrive. Foresters and other trained field staff routinely inspect our corridors, identify both appropriate and incompatible species on a site-by-site basis, and recommend appropriate management methods. They are available to discuss individual questions or concerns with residents.

A secondary objective of integrated vegetation management is keeping access routes to transmission equipment free of large woody plants and trees to enable regular inspection and maintenance activities.

Natural Greenways

ITC’s holistic approach to vegetation management results in safe and reliable transmission corridors that can foster stable and diverse greenways for people and wildlife – along with decreased environmental and property disturbance.

Compatible Species: Right Tree, Right Place

ITC appreciates that tree removal can be a sensitive issue for property owners. The safety of residents and reliability of the transmission system are our top priorities. ITC works with residents to help them understand what kinds of plants and shrubs can be safely established near transmission lines, and the right places for trees.

Under our “Right Tree, Right Place” program, we hold site selection education events in communities to complement property-owner landscape management and help prevent tree interference with transmission lines.

We’re sometimes asked…

1. Why does ITC remove trees instead of trim them?
ITC has adopted an approach that calls for removal of incompatible vegetation in order to maintain the safety of the public and reliability of the transmission system. ITC identifies and removes incompatible trees that can grow to the point of interfering with transmission lines; whereas trimming such trees often stimulates faster growth. Proactive removal of these species and the encouragement of compatible vegetation is a long-term approach that fosters stable and sustainable transmission corridors.

2. Why does ITC need access to my property?
ITC needs access to your property, granted through utility easements, in order to perform necessary maintenance work and other activities to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of power to your community.

3. How can I verify the rights ITC has on my property?
Recorded easement information can be obtained from the county register of deeds or county clerk offices. This information can also be found in the title work associated with your property.

4. How will I know ITC is planning vegetation management activity?
Our ways of communicating vegetation management plans to residents and communities include placement of door tag hangers, personal contact and printed notices about individual sites where maintenance is needed.

5. How often does ITC return to perform vegetation work?
Existing and potential new vegetation, and their growth rates, vary across locations. Our routine monitoring allows us to schedule appropriate work as needed to maintain electric reliability and public safety.

If you have questions about ITC’s vegetation management program or our activities in your community, please contact ITC’s customer line at: 877.ITC.ITC9 (877.482.4829)
For more information about ITC, please visit

DTE Vegetation Management

Power Line Friendly Trees

 You don’t have to choose between reliable, dependable electric service and beautiful, strong trees. By planting power line friendly trees in the right place, you can have both.

Right Tree, Right Place

2016 DTE Tree Trimming Map
(Trimming to take place October-December 2016)

DTE Energy is committed to providing reliable, affordable, safe electricity for its customers. Because trees are often responsible for power outages, trimming problem trees is a common sense solution to prevent outages from happening in the first place. Trees that come into contact with power lines can also cause a safety concern. As we trim trees, DTE Energy is committed to working collaboratively to deliver the best results for customers.


We will send you a letter and a phone call before we begin trimming in your neighborhood. This letter is just the first step in our communication process. You’ve asked for better up front communication and more collaboration. We listened. We’ll discuss both the intent and the impact of all work before we begin trimming. We're committed to working with you every step of the way to deliver both reliable energy and safe, strong trees.


A few weeks after you receive the letter, you may see our pre-planners (foresters) inspecting the trees and power lines in your area. If we need to trim on your property, the arborist will knock on your door and leave a door hanger describing the necessary trimming. Trees slated for trimming will be marked with a white dot at the base of the tree. Occasionally, if a tree poses a serious hazard to the power lines, and/or if trimming will damage the tree’s health, it may need to be removed. Once you sign the tree removal permit, trees slated for removal will be marked with a white “X”.

Work Begins

DTE Energy field crews have been trained on safe, proper, and environmentally responsible tree care. This includes using a pruning method that builds tolerance to disease, fosters a stronger tree structure, and directs growth away from power lines. When trimming is completed, we will leave a note on your door. During normal operations, crews will dispose of all tree debris unless you have indicated that you want it to remain on your property. In the aftermath of severe storms, debris removal policies are different.