Tree Trimming FAQ
Why does Puget Sound Energy trim trees?
Keeping the utility lines clear is vital to maintaining your safety. Falling branches from trees can bring down poles and power lines which could cause a very dangerous situation on the ground. Even limbs that simply come in contact with utility lines can cause a major outage or interrupt service.
Does PSE have certified arborists?
Yes. Through Asplundh, our tree-service contractor, PSE-certified arborists respond to customer calls, investigate potential threats and patrol our utility lines to determine if trees are, or will become, a threat to service or public safety.
How do you decide which trees to trim?
Our certified arborists assess a tree's growth rate, limb configuration and if it has or will encroach on PSE power lines. They also take into consideration the historical impact of wind storms in a particular area and the type of facility involved.
Is tree trimming unhealthy for trees?
To minimize the impact and stress to trees, our crews use "directional pruning." This method allows a tree's natural defense system to seal its wounds, and discourage pests and decay. Directional pruning is the preferred technique of the National Arbor Day Foundation and the International Society of Arboriculture.
What should I do if I notice a tree limb or branch on a power line?
If you notice a tree that is dangerously close to, or on overhead lines, please email or call us at
1-888-225-5773 so we can send a PSE-certified arborist to investigate.
Can I do the work myself?
No. It is extremely unsafe for you to trim vegetation growing near power lines, even trees that are on your property. Only specially-trained tree trimming professionals should do this work. Please email or call us at 1-888-225-5773 and we'll send out a PSE-certified arborist and crew at no cost to you.
Do you charge for trimming or removal?
No. We will not charge you to trim or remove any trees or branches that may cause safety hazards. If you are asked for money, please contact us at 1-888-225-5773.
When will tree crews arrive?
Typically within two to four weeks, although a PSE-certified arborist may appear within a few days to assess the situation.
Will I be notified when PSE crews are pruning trees in my neighborhood?
When tree trimming is necessary, nearby residents will receive a letter from PSE that includes contact information and dates when the work will be performed.
Will there be interruptions to my service while PSE is pruning trees in my area?
No. Routine tree trimming and tree removal should not impact your electrical service.
Why can't PSE place power lines underground instead of pruning?
Simply burying power lines is not as easy, or cost-effective, as it may sound, especially when you consider:
- All trees and vegetation in the area must be uprooted and removed in order to bury the underground cable.
- Moisture, corrosion and other stresses make buried cable especially vulnerable to failures.
- Power outages can be dramatically longer because of the time it takes to locate underground faults, dig and complete repairs.
- Underground transmission cables cost many times more than overhead lines.
I live in an area with underground power lines. Does PSE's vegetation management affect me?
Even if tree trimming isn't a concern in your neighborhood, nearby overhead lines feeding your underground lines must be properly maintained in order to ensure safety and reliability. Additionally, here are some other vegetation management guidelines you should follow:
- Always call 811 before you dig. This free service helps you avoid potential injury, fines and the disruption of your electric or natural gas service.
- Do not plant trees or bushes, or place fences or rockeries near PSE's green metal transformer boxes. Our crews need safe and easy access to them in case of outages or routine maintenance.
What about tree houses?
If any part of a tree supporting a tree house is within 10 feet of a power line, the risk of electrocution is very high. Also, make sure that children cannot reach power lines with a pole or any other object. Email or call PSE at 1-888-225-5773 if you have any concerns.
I'm considering planting around power lines in my yard. Do you have any suggestions?