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Tree Trimming

tree trimmerTo help limit weather-related interruptions or outages, Alliant Energy regularly trims trees that are conflicting with power lines.

We trim trees along primary transmission and distribution lines on a four- to five-year cycle. We are granted permission to trim trees under franchise and easement agreements with the communities we serve.

Our crews, which include both Alliant Energy and contract workers, follow standards approved by the National Arbor Day Foundation to preserve the health of the trees.

Alliant Energy is proud to be a long-time National Arbor Day Foundation TreeLine USA Utility for our "commitment to public education, tree planting and quality tree care."

Brochures and fact sheets:

Power Planting: The Right Tree in the Right Place [PDF]

Frequently asked questions about tree trimming:

Why does Alliant Energy have to trim trees?

Tree limbs and power lines aren't a good combination - especially when severe weather hits. Trees are a common cause of service interruptions and outages, and a damaging storm can disrupt power for extended periods.

In addition, tree limbs and branches that extend into power lines pose a significant risk to public safety even during mild weather. Anyone climbing a tree with limbs and branches that may be intertwined with power lines can come into contact with the wires and be seriously injured.

How often do you trim trees?

Our crews, which include both Alliant Energy and contract workers, trim trees around our primary transmission and distribution lines on a four- to five-year cycle.

What kind of pruning techniques do you use?

Our professionally trained crews use "directional pruning" methods developed by the National Arborist Association and approved by the National Arbor Day Foundation.

These methods, shown in the illustrations below, protect the health of the tree while still providing the established minimum safety clearance:

 directional pruning diagram

The tree is trained to grow away from the line, minimizing the need for and severity of future trimming.

How can you trim trees on my property without my permission?

We are granted permission to trim trees under franchise and easement agreements with the communities we serve. We are not interested in trimming beyond what is necessary for public safety and reliability of electrical service.

How far do you cut back trees?

The amount of trimming that is done depends on the type of tree and how close it is to the power lines. For example, a fast-growing tree like silver maple may be cut back more than a slow-growing tree.

Around our high-voltage lines, clearance would be approximately 10 to 12 feet for a fast-growing tree, and five to seven feet for a slow-growing tree.

What is your policy on tree removal?

We will not remove a tree without the property owner's permission. If a tree is diseased, dying, storm-damaged or is likely to be severely deformed by trimming, we will suggest it be removed.

At a customer's request, we will consider removing a tree if it interferes with a high-voltage line at the top of a utility pole, and if removing it will eliminate the need for future trimming. Alliant Energy will not remove trees near low-voltage service lines to a home or business.

What if trees in my yard are growing into power lines?

Alliant Energy will move power lines or shut off service so trees can be trimmed or removed safely. Alliant Energy does not trim trees around low-voltage service lines coming into a home or business.

What do you do with the discarded wood?

Our crews will typically leave discarded wood at the base of the tree. If you do not wish to keep or dispose of the wood yourself, contact our Customer Service Center at 1-800-ALLIANT to have it picked up.

Can I have the wood chips?

Wood chips are available to customers only if a crew is working in their neighborhood. If you're interested in obtaining wood chips, it is your responsibility to locate the crew and make arrangements.