Tree Trimming FAQs - new

1.  How often does the Alcoa Electric Department trim and/or remove trees?
We typically trim or remove trees on a regular cycle of 4 to 5 years. We also trim on an as-needed basis or by customer request. However, if storms or strong winds come to our service area, we assess the damage and work with the Public Works Department and/or tree trimming companies (depending on the severity of the damage) to remove hazardous trees or limbs.
2.  What trees will the Alcoa Electric Department Trim?
AED only trims trees that pose a potential hazard to primary or secondary power lines. Non-ornamental trees directly under the power lines and trees considered a danger to fall into the lines (typically dead or leaning trees) may be removed. These are normally the lines that run parallel with the street. We typically do not remove trees interfering with service wires (wires running directly from the house to a transformer), as these are the customer’s responsibility.

If the tree in question poses an immediate, serious or dangerous threat to your electric system, we will be glad to send an AED representative to assess the situation. We contract with certified arborists to ensure healthy and safe pruning methods are used.
3.  How much of my trees will be trimmed?

Primary Distribution lines will be trimmed to a minimum clearance of 10 feet from closest conductor. Limbs may be trimmed further from the lines to comply with lateral trimming methods. Limbs overhanging lines will be trimmed as high as possible. We will make every effort to eliminate weak, diseased and dead limbs above the wires that may fall or blow into the wires. See link below for standard clearances.

City of Alcoa Trimming Clearances

4.  What method do you use to trim trees?
When we can, AED uses lateral trimming methods, which entail removing limbs at natural detachment points (laterals) or to the parent branch to help facilitate healing around the pruning site and strengthen branches. We also use directional pruning that redirects the growth of the tree away from the power line, minimizing re-sprouting or re-growth. Lateral pruning does not harm the tree’s natural defense systems, protecting the tree from decay.
5.  Will you leave me with an unshapely tree?
We will work together on each case and attempt to satisfy you with the appearance while obtaining adequate clearance and safety. Each tree is different, as the amount of lateral trimming that has to be performed depends on how the tree might interfere with power lines. In most cases, a few months of re-growth makes a big difference in appearance following pruning. With lateral trimming, the re-growth is naturally directed away from the power lines.
6.  Who will actually trim my trees?

The Alcoa Electric Department only contracts with qualified tree companies who meet our guidelines and specifications.

7.  What happens to the wood and brush after trimming?

If we are trimming and removing during routine maintenance, we will chip everything that can go through our chipper if it is in a maintained area. However, large wood (greater than 6” diameter at breast height) in a maintained area will be cut into manageable size pieces and left as close to the stump as feasible. Property Owners can call into the City of Alcoa Electric Department and request large wood to be left in longer lengths than manageable size pieces. If trees are removed and brush is cut in an unmaintained area, the aforementioned will be chopped up and/or placed to lie flat with the terrain.  Vegetation in an unmaintained area will not be chipped or hauled off. The City of Alcoa Electric Department will not chip, haul or remove brush, debris or trees that have fallen due to natural causes or have to be cut for storm restoration purposes by City of Alcoa Electric Department employees or by employees from our contracted tree companies. Our primary responsibility, during a restoration event, is to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.

8.  Does the Alcoa Electric Department have a legal right-of-way to come on to my  
     property and trim my trees?
Our overall goal is to maintain an exceptionally reliable electric system and to ensure public safety. State laws give AED the legal right to do what is necessary to maintain and protect the electric system within the right-of-way to provide and maintain utility services for the common good of the community.