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Line Clearance

The Electricity Department is committed to providing safe and reliable electric power to all of its customers in Florence and Lauderdale County. One of the most common causes of power outages is a tree growing into or near power lines. These same trees often present hidden dangers to those playing or working near them. The methods we use to trim trees away from power lines will encourage natural growth and help direct new growth away from power lines. This tree maintenance program will result in safer, more reliable electric service to you and your neighbors.

Prior Notification of line clearance work has become one of our highest priorities. We will attempt to notify you by phone, mail, or by a door hanger, before any tree trimming is done on your property. We use an integrated vegetation management (IVM) approach to rights-of-way maintenance, which promotes native plant species and enhances wildlife habitat. This program is endorsed by many wildlife groups, and promotes habitats for many species, such as Quail, Turkey, Deer and Butterflies.

We have a cyclic approach of trimming all lines so the trees should only need trimming once every four years. EPA registered herbicides are also included in the program to control trees and brush growing up under the power lines.

If you have a question or concern about tree trimming and line clearance please call 760-6533. A Florence Electricity Department representative will be happy to discuss your tree-related problems or request for tree removal.

Additional links:

Dr. Kim Koder: (www.forestry.uga.edu/efr)
I.S.A. (www.isa-arbor.com)

The Pruning Process

We have become a society devoted to our trees. Trees provide shade, beauty, help reduce noise, and can even increase property values. We are also a society that demands continuous electrical service. Our zeal for both trees and electricity often places the two in conflict because trees growing too close to overhead electric wires may threaten your safety and cause power outages. Tree pruning is one of the most highly visible and widely criticized activities of electric utility companies, but is also vitally necessary.

Florence Utilities, like most utility companies, uses pruning techniques that meet American National Standards. These techniques utilize, "natural, lateral, or directional" pruning methods that minimize the impact on tree health, structure, and appearance. These improved pruning methods also speed wound closure, reduce sprout growth, and ultimately direct future limb growth away from the wires. Trees stay healthier and live longer.

The following are the pruning styles that we utilize:

Crown reduction: removes the main leader or leaders to a suitable lateral branch beneath the boundary of the remaining crown. This method is best used on slow-growing trees or those whose mature height will only marginally reach the electric lines.

crown reduction

Side-pruning: removes branches on the wire side of a tree to direct future growth away from the line.

side pruning
Before After


V or Through-pruning: used for trees located directly beneath low-voltage lines or where snow and ice are seldom a problem. These styles are nearly the same except that some branch "overhang" is left above the wires with through-pruning and no branch "overhang" is left with V-pruning.

Before After


To truly eliminate the conflict between trees and overhead electric wires, we must select and plant only trees whose mature height and spread will not interfere with nearby utility lines. Consult your local nursery, utility forester, or garden center for assistance in choosing trees to plant under electric wires.


Copyright 2008  |  City of Florence, AL; U.S.A.

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