Vegetation Policy


This policy is to establish vegetation management guidelines in a manner that provides safe and reliable service to the membership of United Electric Co-op, Inc. (United Electric). This helps United Electrics mission to provide safe, reliable power at reasonable rates, with exceptional service and commitment to the members.

These vegetation management procedures are designed to be sensitive to United Electric cost, while considering the interest of the property owner; and to effectively manage vegetation regarding public and private right-of-way maintenance for safe and reliable electric service to United Electric’s members.

Right-of-Way Maintenance

Clearing of right-of-way zones for the purposes of this policy shall be defined as the public areas adjacent to state, county and township highways, roads or streets, and to the private areas in which the United Electric has established power lines.

The necessary clearance of supply lines from trees is determined by:

  1. Voltage, location, and type of line.
  2. The height of the poles and use.
  3. The growth habit and final appearance of the trees.
  4. Movement of trees and conductors under adverse weather conditions.
  5. Sag of conductors at elevated temperatures.
  6. Risk to United Electric’s lines and facilities (Danger Trees).

United Electric tree trimmers will maintain proper clearance in accordance with good clearing practices to meet established industry standards at no cost to the landowner. If the landowner requests other practices or prevents clearance it will be at the landowner’s continued cost. Any line conversions or relocations will be at the requesting member’s cost. These practices will be performed in accordance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Rural Utilities Service (RUS), National Electrical Safety Code (NESC), and other applicable regulations, standards and laws. All third-party trimmers shall be required to execute a contract approved by the Board, provide their own equipment, and a certificate of liability insurance. Any variance from clearance standards by third-party trimmers shall require a signed variance.

Primary Distribution Lines

There shall be a minimum 10-foot clearance between an energized high voltage distribution conductor and any part of a tree. Fast growth tree species will require a minimum of 15-foot clearance. Only OSHA 269-qualified employees may clear lines or trim trees within the minimum approach distance of 10 feet of energized lines.

Trees should be trimmed to the extent that the designated minimum clearance area will be kept free of new tree growth until the next scheduled trimming cycle. If advanced trimming cycles are needed for fast-growing tree species or where limited trimming is permitted by the tree owner, appropriate cost and records will be maintained by United Electric.

Secondary and/or Service Conductors

United Electric recommends a minimum 3-foot clearance. The cost of line clearance for service conductors is the responsibility of the property owner. Damage repair to these services caused by trees is at the cost of the landowner or adjacent landowner. Service outages caused by trees will require appropriate measures taken to restore the system.

Climbing Space

There shall be a clear minimum of 3 feet unobstructed climbing space around all poles and structures as needed. There shall be no attachments allowed to any poles or structures without prior approval of the Cooperative.

Tree Removal

Tree removal is highly effective and should be encouraged where they may be in current or future conflict with United Electric’s facilities and power lines. Trees should be removed by United Electric under the following conditions:

  1. Trees located in schoolyards, playgrounds, and parks, back lot construction areas, or other areas in which children may easily climb and contact overhead conductors.
  2. Trees under lines with no chance for reasonable, natural development.
  3. Trees that are unsightly because of excessive trimming and cannot be economically re-trimmed.
  4. Trees in rural areas along county roads and state highways, which would eventually reach a primary line.
  5. Fast-growing tree species that will eventually grow into transmission or distribution lines.
  6. Trees both alive and dead, that are leaning toward the line and would strike the line when falling.
  7. Trees outside of the right-of-way that may be hazardous to United Electric’s facilities. Removal debris and stump removal is the responsibility of the member unless otherwise agreed upon.

United Electric encourages members to report potentially hazardous trees and conditions outside of the right of way that threaten public safety and system reliability.


United Electric shall retain the right of access to all right-of-way and easements pertaining to maintenance and the cutting or pruning of vegetation that endanger the public or interfere with the operation and maintenance of its power lines or facilities.


United Electric’s employees or agents acting on its behalf will notify landowners at least 48 hours in advance of any vegetation work within the right-of-way and easements, either by personal contact, door hanger, phone, text or mail. Notification shall include:

  1. The intent to prune or remove vegetation on the property.
  2. A brief statement of the nature of the work to be performed and the reason the work is needed.
  3. An estimate of the time frame when the work will occur.
  4. How to contact the United Electric.

This policy supersedes any policy that may be in conflict with this policy.


Engineering and Operations Manager, Operations Superintendent, System Reliability Technician


Adopted by the Board of Directors September 12, 2022.

Signed, Secretary of the Board, Cordell Searle.

Revision Date Action Name
1 9/12/22 Create and Adopt Policy. Board of Directors