Wire location, limb size, or branch configuration may make it necessary to remove limbs back to the tree’s trunk. The tree species, its position in relation to our electric facilities, and line voltage are all factors in determining how much limb removal is required. Figures 3 and 4 show the basic forms that lateral pruning can take depending upon where the tree is in relation to the power lines. When trees are planted directly beneath power lines, branches must be cut back until a fork (crotch) in the tree is reached (see Figure 3). This is a natural junction that allows the arborist to direct new growth away and permits large trees to coexist with power lines.
If the tree is next to power lines, then lateral cuts are made to direct the tree growth back and away from the power lines (see Figure 4). Branches above the power lines are directed up and back, while those below the power lines are directed down and back or removed to the trunk. Next season’s growth is then concentrated in the direction of the lateral cuts and away from the wires. Future pruning refines this procedure and improves the shape of the tree. These methods usually mean cutting fewer branches but achieving better electrical service reliability for our customers, and it is healthier for the trees.