As a homeowner, you have the right and responsibility to take care of your landscape. Similarly, we must care for our power lines. When we have identified a tree that is a potential problem for lines, poles, or guy wires, we are prepared to take care of that problem.
You do have options to standard pruning, however, including hiring a contractor to prune to KUB’s clearance requirements.
If you have questions, we would be happy to speak with you. Please call KUB Vegetation Management at 865-558-6658 immediately after receiving notice of KUB pruning work on your property so that we have time to discuss options with you before crews reach your area. If we do not hear from you, crews will proceed with standard pruning.
For examples of what some species of trees look like after pruning, see the Tree Pruning Examples appendix from the guide.
You can elect to hire, at your expense, a private tree service to prune your trees. Remember: Working around power lines is extremely dangerous and should only be done by someone specially trained and qualified for that type of work.
The contractor must prune to meet KUB minimum clearance requirements. KUB crews prune to maintain a minimum 10-foot clearance between limbs and distribution lines and a minimum 25-foot clearance from high-voltage transmission lines. Crews may also remove any trees, brush, or vines that are threatening (or hindering crews’ access to) utility poles and guy wires.
KUB only removes trees in the safety maintenance zone maintenance zone that are dead, unhealthy, or unsound and pose a risk to electric safety and reliability. If you and KUB agree to remove the tree, KUB’s standard agreement calls for cutting the tree and removing the brush. Due to cost, KUB does not remove stumps, sawdust, or wood, but we will cut the trunk into 18-inch lengths for you.
If you and KUB agree that it is better to remove the tree, KUB’s standard agreement calls for cutting the tree and removing the brush. Due to cost, KUB does not remove stumps, sawdust, or wood, but we will cut the trunk into 18-inch lengths for you.
We know trees are important to you and the environment. So if a significant tree has to be removed to keep power lines safe, we may be able to offer you a replacement tree. You can see the trees KUB offers as replacements in our Tree Planting Program brochure. We will plant the tree in your yard in a mutually agreed on location that will not interfere with overhead or underground utilities.
If you are offered a replacement tree and do not want it placed in your yard, you may donate that tree for KUB to plant in a community planting somewhere in our service area.
As part of our efforts to help beautify our community, KUB has an active community tree-planting program. We also partner with Habitat for Humanity to plant a tree at each new Habitat house in our service area.
Subordinate Lateral Pruning
Perhaps your tree is in good health but will require extensive pruning to meet the standard clearance requirements. Depending on the branching structure of the tree and the tree’s proximity to electric lines, KUB may use subordinate pruning as a temporary measure to remove a branch over more than one pruning cycle rather than all at once. Subordinate pruning is consistent with industry best pruning practices.
This is more often an option for trees that have not been pruned before, rather than trees with regrowth from a previous pruning. KUB crews will make proper lateral pruning cuts to achieve standard clearance in three to four years during the next pruning cycle scheduled in your area, or sooner if the tree’s branches grow to endanger electric lines again before then.
Reduced Clearance for Low-Growing or Slow-Growing Species
KUB encourages customers to plant only low-growing trees near power lines. If a tall, but slow-growing tree already exists beside lines, KUB foresters will evaluate the species, branching structure, and proximity of the tree to lines to determine if we can make an exception to the standard required clearance.
Special Status Trees
Some big, beautiful old hardwood trees are just special. Depending on size, age, health, and other factors, a tree may meet KUB’s criteria to be labeled a special status tree. Although we can never just ignore a tree that is growing into the power lines, we can make some exceptions to the standard pruning requirements on special status trees.
Contact us if you think you have a special status tree.
Other Engineering Solutions
If your trees will require extensive pruning and you believe you will be unhappy with the result, you may choose to pay to have the power lines relocated or moved underground. Those are expensive options, however, that may not be right for everyone.