Our vegetation management team works year-round to help reduce the impact of vegetation on power lines. To ensure safety and reliability of electric service to our community, NGEMC contracts with a team of certified arborists, professional tree trimmers and even a helicopter tree trimming company. NGEMC utilizes a five-year, tree-trimming and herbicide treatment cycle to maintain more than 6,400 miles of electrical line in seven northwest Georgia counties.
About Vegetation Management at NGEMC
A healthy community forest begins with careful planning. With a little research and a simple layout, you can produce a landscape that will cool your home in summer and tame the winter winds. Your well-planned yard will contain trees that grow well in the soil and moisture of your neighborhood. Your trees will be properly placed to avoid collisions with power lines and buildings, and the aesthetics will increase your property value.
A proper landscape plan takes each tree into consideration:
- Height. Will the tree bump into anything when it is fully grown? [sizing guide]
- Canopy spread. How wide will the tree grow?
- Is the tree deciduous or coniferous? (Will it lose its leaves in the winter?)
- Form or shape. A columnar tree will grow in less space. Round and V-Shaped species provide the most shade. [shape guide]
- Growth rate. How long will it take for your tree to reach its full height? Slow growing species typically live longer than fast growing species.
- Soil, sun, and moisture requirements.
- Fruit. Fruit trees are beautiful, but they are messy, too. Consider where their droppings will fall.
- Hardiness Zone. The Plant Hardiness Zones divide the United States based on lowest average temperature. Suitable hardiness means a plant is expected to grow in the zone's temperature extremes. Contact your community's tree board, forestry department or a local county cooperative extension agent for a list of trees suitable for planting in specific hardiness zones. (Arborday.org hardiness zones lookup.)
- Before you plant vegetation, know what’s below ground by calling 811 or by visiting georgia811.com before you dig. Contacting 811 notifies local utilities, who will locate and mark underground utilities at your planting site.
- When planting trees, avoid the potential for future conflict with overhead power lines by checking the mature size of the tree you are considering.
- Never plant trees under or near overhead power lines.
- Never attempt to trim vegetation growing on or near overhead power lines. Call NGEMC to report any vegetation that is within the power line right-of-way.
- To be safe, do not dig around or near power equipment.
- To help NGEMC crews avoid delays during maintenance, repairs or power restoration, do not plant flowers and bushes within five feet of meters, pad-mounted transformers or utility poles. Pad-mounted transformers are green electrical boxes seen in or near the yards of many members with underground electrical service.
Changing weather patterns from drought to heavy rains can make dying trees dangerous. Erica Lewis, NGEMC’s certified arborist and Vegetation Management Specialist, says that power outages caused by falling trees are on the rise. Many of these trees are located outside NGEMC’s maintained rights of way but are large enough to impact power lines.
“Over the past several years, we have seen an increase in mortality rates in several species of pine and hardwoods due to cycles of prolonged drought as well as insect infestation,” says Lewis. She adds that various types of trees respond differently to sickness and damage.
“For example, a pine tree may topple over due to root failure, while a hardwood tends to lose limbs starting with the top of the canopy,” Lewis explains.
To increase system safety and reliability, NGEMC’s Vegetation Management team identifies trees that are hazardous to power lines and works with property owners to remove them.
The rapid spread of deadly tree insects and diseases threaten varieties of native tree populations. All counties in NGEMC’s service area have been quarantined by the U.S. Forestry Service, meaning that dead wood must be left on-site to prevent further infestation.
How you can help
The Georgia Forestry Commission asks residents not to remove dead trees, firewood, mulch and clippings from the county where they originated.
Learn more about NGEMC's Vegetation Management program.
Right-of-way crew locations
|Catoosa||Burning Bush Rd. | Abbey Rd. | Country Ln.|
|Whitfield||Dug Gap Rd. | Country Way | Marla Dr. | Hwy. 41|
Vegetation Management Program FAQ
Trees growing into or near power lines can cause outages and can be dangerous. Trees touching power lines can give electrical current a path to ground, creating a potential hazard to people, animals and crews restoring power. They can also cause power outages by interrupting the flow of electricity or damaging the distribution line.
According to Georgia State statute, NGEMC and other electric utilities may maintain right of way easements in order to provide essential service to customers. We maintain a right of way of 20 feet on both sides of the power line. Any vegetation growing into that space or having the potential to encroach that area in the next five years will be trimmed.
Before we begin routine trimming, we notify you by phone to inform you of crews trimming in your area. If you are not at home, we will leave you a message. We also post current trimming locations on our website. If you have requested a vegetation management representative come look at particular tree, we will leave you a door hanger describing the work and a phone number at which you can reach us.
NGEMC contracts with experienced companies certified in vegetation management. Contractors use bucket trucks, climbing gear, and sometimes helicopters to trim trees that encroach in NGEMC right of way. Because of the high risks involved in trimming trees near power lines, NGEMC crews are trained to safely trim trees that are growing into the right of way. NGEMC strongly discourages anyone other than trained professionals employed by the utility from trimming vegetation that is near a power line or in the power line right of way.
Our certified arborist will meet with homeowners who wish to have a tree removed to determine whether or not the tree is endangering the power lines.
We do use herbicide along some rights of way. The herbicide is approved by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is applied only by contractors licensed to do that work. When applying herbicide, our contractors stay clear of buffer zones such as water sources, farmland and fence rows. You can request that no herbicide be used on your property by simply calling or e-mailing us with your name and address.
Never plant trees near power lines. Always consider the size, growth rate, and species before planting vegetation near the right of way. Vegetation that grows into NGEMC's right of way will be trimmed or cut. Plant vegetation outside of our right of way to eliminate safety risks and the potential for trimming.
Our vegetation management team typically does not remove trees that affect the service line from the transformer to the house. However, when vegetation is making contact with the service line, we will disconnect the service line so the member can remove the vegetation. When the work is complete, we will reconnect the service line. These services are provided at no charge to NGEMC members. To request a service disconnection for tree removal or if you have questions about trees in power lines, please contact NGEMC.