Vegetation Management: What to Expect

We are working to increase reliability by making improvements to our Vegetation Management Program. Recent growing seasons caused many areas to grow beyond what customers are able to maintain safely and effectively. Where we used to be able to use simple trimming methods, we must now take down or trim anything near the power lines to enable our customers to resume maintaining their vegetation.


Vegetation Management Project Map

The blue highlighted areas indicate the locations within our service territory that will be addressed over the next several months as part of this Vegetation Management Project and the yellow highlighted areas indicate the locations that are being addressed as part of our normal vegetation management.

Click on the map and zoom in to see the detailed areas.


What can you expect?

  • We are going to do significant vegetation management work in multiple areas that have been more prone to outages. This will involve taking down trees and trimming others. You can help by watching for road signs, trucks, and other equipment and safely maneuvering around them.
  • BTES will attempt to contact each customer prior to crews arriving.
  • We will be placing an emphasis on taking trees down instead of periodic maintenance and recurring trimming.
  • Trees that are located in or near the power lines, or pose a threat to the power lines, will be taken down. Dead and/or leaning trees which would strike the line if falling, may be taken down.
  • Trees will be trimmed or taken down to achieve the industry standard necessary clearance in order for the customer to be able to maintain at least 10 feet of clearance (ground-to-sky) on each side of the line. However, depending on the type of power line and location, some trees may need to be taken down to achieve 100 feet or more of clearance.
  • Vines growing on poles, guy wires, and equipment will be removed and cut off at ground level.
  • To fully complete this process, you may see multiple crews over the period of several weeks. For example, you may see a crew taking down and trimming trees one week and it may be another week or two before a crew comes by to place items through the chipper.

What will be left behind?

  • When a tree is taken down, wood that is too large for the chipper is cut into manageable lengths and left on the property, near the base of the tree. Disposal or use of all such wood is the property owner's responsibility. Here are some other options:
    • Donate the wood for firewood use to someone in need (possibly check with local churches or other organizations).
    • Place this sign on the wood so that your neighbors and others know they can take it.
    • Follow all Tennessee guidelines for firewood.
  • We do not remove tree stumps when taking down a tree but will cut the stump at a height to allow removal of the stump by the customer or will cut the stump as low as possible.
  • While it is the property owner's responsibility to use or dispose of all such wood, BTES will consider requests to assist in removing debris. To submit a request, click here.

Then what?

  • Review BTES' Rules and Regulations regarding Vegetation Management: BTES customers shall control new and existing trees and shrubbery, and placement of obstructions, to prevent interference with overhead and underground utility lines and other BTES facilities. In the event such facilities are interfered with, BTES reserves the right to trim or remove any vegetation and/or obstructions. In the event such facilities are interfered with, impaired in operation, or damaged by the customer or by any other person when the customer’s reasonable care and surveillance could have prevented such, the customer shall indemnify BTES or any other person against death, injury, loss, or damage resulting therefrom. The customer is financially responsible for BTES’ cost of trimming or removing vegetation and/or obstructions, as well as repairing, replacing, or relocating any facilities as determined by BTES that are necessary because of said vegetation or obstructions.
  • After crews complete their work, our customers will be able to resume maintaining their vegetation. To help keep the power on for you and your neighbors, please don’t plant trees under or near the power lines, and keep the areas under and near the power lines clear of excessive vegetation growth such as trees, large bushes, and vines.
  • Review BTES' Tree Planting Guide.
  • For help in choosing what tree to plant in the right place (away from power lines), check out resources from the National Arbor Day Foundation.
  • For the full Vegetation Management Program Guidelines, click here.
  • For additional information, click here.


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