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Have a question about street or park trees? Visit the City's Urban Forestry Division webpage

Electric Utility Easement Tree TrimmingTREE LINEUSA®_green349-ADFtext
Westerville is a leader in the Utility Tree Trimming Industry and is consistently recognized by the National Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Line USA Community.  The Westerville Electric Division employs four Utility Arborists who are professionally trained in tree care and maintenance with specialization of clearing greenery near and on power lines.  Westerville's Arborists are critical to the reliability of the Westerville Electric System and work to the highest standards as outlined by the American National Standards Institute.

Tree Crew Tree Planting
In order to provide safe and reliable electricity to our customers, Westerville Electric Division Utility Arborists perform various types of tree pruning along the utility easements, rights-of-ways and on private property when trees come in conflict with overhead power lines.  In order to perform necessary work, Arbroists may require access to private property.  The Division always make an effort to contact property owners before doing regular scheduled work.

Westerville's Arborists generally prune away three years of growth on trees that are prone to growing into power lines. Crews will clean up, remove all trimmings and leave the property as found.  Residents should never attempt to trim or remove limbs near power lines.  If you should have any questions or have a tree growing in or near power lines you should call (614) 901-6700 or email to request an Arborist evaluation.
Types of Tree Trimming
The four types of utility easement tree trimming utilized by the Electric Division are:
  • Side Trim
  • Crown Reduction
  • Through Trim (sometimes referred to as V-Trim)
  • Removals
Trees beside power lines are often “side trimmed.”  Side trimming involves removing entire side branches, not just trimming branch tips.  To keep the trees strong and healthy, cuts are made at either the growth collar or the lateral branch bark ridges.

Crown reduction is the most extensive form of trimming involving the crown (upper branches) of the tree. The preferred method of crown reduction is called “drop-crotching,” or cutting the main branch(es) back to a lateral branch well below the top of the remaining crown.

The “Through Trim” (or “V-Trim”) can only be utilized on trees that are under a single-phase power line, and involves cutting out the tree’s center.  Sometimes, even this type of trimming cannot provide proper access to utility lines, making removing the entire tree the only alternative.
Call Before You Dig

Before you get started on a landscaping or yard improvement project, there’s an important call you need to make.  Call the Ohio Utilities Protection Service (OUPS) before digging in your yardby dialing 1-800-362-2764 or 8-1-1.  OUPS is open seven days per week including holidays.  You must call at least 48 hours ahead of your digging, but not more than 10 days before. More  information may be found by visiting  The following are some examples of when you need to call:

  • LandscapingCall Before You Dig - 8-1-1
  • Planting trees
  • Removing tree roots
  • Installing a retainer wall
  • Digging holes for fence posts or a mailbox
  • Anchoring supports for decks and swings sets
  • Driving landscaping stakes into the ground

Calling before you dig is the only way to know the exact location of utility lines or underground structures.  It is recommended to allow at least an 18-inch "tolerance" zone on either side of the marked utility line.  Help protect yourself and your neighbors by calling your local utility or state underground protection service before you dig.

Landscaping Clearance and Other Guidelines
Unobstructed access to underground power facilities is imperative.  Customers serviced by underground power lines should be aware of landscaping clearance and other guidelines to be maintained around our equipment.

Maintaining proper landscaping clearances around pad mount transformers allows our crews to safely perform necessary inspection and maintenance work.  Woody plants, ornamental grasses, fences and other structures, shrubs and trees must be kept at least 10 feet from the front of the pad (the side with the enclosure doors) and at least 3 feet from the sides and back. Plantings and structures located too close create a dangerous work area and may hamper efforts to restore power in an emergency.  In addition, the plants and structures may be damaged by workers trying to access underground facilities. Damaged plants and structures will not be replaced when found within the clearances shown.

Service Zone Area around Transformers
Before adding or removing trees, shrubs or other plantings (including stumps), obtain free safe digging information to avoid disturbing buried utility lines.  The following work site information will be needed:
  • County, city or township
  • Street address
  • Intersecting streets or roads
  • Distance and direction from intersection
  • Extent of work (front/rear/both sides)
  • Date excavation will take place
  • Type of work
  • Your name
  • Contact phone number
  • Contractor contact person or other additional information
Tree Removals
It may be at times better to remove trees along the power lines due to safety, health, appearance or future maintenance needs. The Westerville Electric Division will work with the landowner to identify these trees and determine if the trees will be removed.  Trees removed will be at no cost to the landowner and the wood from the removal could be left for the resident in manageable lengths or may be hauled away.  Stumps will be ground out when possible, and the resident will be responsible for cleaning up the stump grindings.

Tree Replacement Program (more information HERE)

Trees add a special, natural beauty to our city.  However, not all tree locations are compatible with overhead electric lines and can pose a threat to public safety and electric service reliability.  Planting the right tree in the right place is the best way to remedy conflicts between trees and overhead electric lines.  Tree replacement can occur through the Westerville Electric Division’s Tree Replacement Program. The City’s Electric Division will evaluate a tree to determine whether the tree should be removed and/or replaced and look at the options as to what types of plant material would be best suited for the site.  MORE