Pruning Near Distribution Lines

Preventing Outages One Branch at a Time

Our proactive tree trimming program is part of the reason PSE&G has been consistently named the one of the most reliable electric utilities in the region.m.

Many communities in New Jersey have lower-voltage utility wires called distribution lines. Unlike transmission lines, which are usually connected to large metal towers, distribution lines can be found on utility poles located alongside roadways or in easements along property lines.

Trees that are close to power lines must be cut back to ensure they don't cause power outages. PSE&G vegetation management works on a four-year maintenance cycle, during which time trees are either trimmed or removed in order to maintain an adequate distance from power lines and to allow for regrowth until the next cycle.

Pruning Techniques on the Distribution System

To ensure the maximum health and beauty of New Jersey's trees, we have arborists and certified tree experts on staff overseeing all tree trimming work.

There are many factors that determine how we cut trees, including:

  • The species of the tree
  • Its characteristic shape and growth habit
  • The voltage of nearby conductors, and
  • The type of construction in the vicinity.

In order to prevent outages, our contractors use directional pruning to train tree branches to grow away from energized conductors. Directional pruning allows for proper healing of pruning cuts without depleting the tree's natural nutritional reserves.

After trimming, trees may look similar to the images below. However, this is only a representation of how the majority of trees are trimmed. Final decisions on pruning cuts are made based on the tree species, its characteristic shape and growth habit, voltage of the conductors, and the type of nearby equipment.

Diagram of tree that has been pruned with directional pruning techniques to avoid contact with power line  Diagram of tree that has been pruned with directional pruning techniques to avoid contact with power line Diagram of tree that has been pruned with directional pruning techniques to avoid contact with power line

Important Safety Tips to Remember

  • Never attempt to trim or remove any tree next to a power line.
  • Never build tree houses in trees near power lines.
  • Never climb trees near power lines.
  • State and federal laws prohibit any person from working within 10 feet of any electric power facility without proper training and certification.

Tree Trimming Near You

Check out the vegetation management schedule for the remainder of 2018. Please note that most tree trimming is planned, proactive work that ensures the reliability of our system. It is possible you may see work that hasn't been announced. This is due to an imminent issue and it is not considered planned maintenance.