Tree and Vegetation Management FAQs

Tree & Vegetation Management Frequently Asked Questions

Our vegetation team works with members, the environment, and the needs of our electric system to create a balanced and proactive approach to rights-of-way maintenance. We've compiled some of the most frequent questions related to our tree and vegetation management practices.

When landscaping, it should be understood that some trees have no place near power line ROW or underground electric equipment. Some tree types, however, can be safely planted within and near ROW. MTE has a list of recommendations.

View the list of recommended trees

When trees grow into or near power lines, they can cause power interruptions and safety concerns for you and your neighbors. MTE depends on a stringent pruning cycle to keep power lines free of tree growth. Pruning the entire power line on a regular basis instead of individual locations ensures an economical approach to maintaining the integrity of the power system. MTE's intentional approach to pruning trees means having a thorough maintenance plan, a plan that improves the safety and reliability of electric service.

Yes. If the tree is landscaped (mowed around) on a weekly basis, MTE will replace it with a five-foot-tall, low-growing species planted at an approved distance from the power line at no cost to the member. (See our list of replacement trees.)


No, MTE must first obtain the proper clearance required by OSHA in Ansi Z133.1. On secondary and service lines, MTE may choose to obtain clearance by first removing the line, and then the member may prune the tree.

No, the chips are left on site. No dirt, seed, straw, etc. will be placed by MTE on the site. The chips will biodegrade and settle, providing rich soil for grass and plants to grow.

Yes, MTE prunes a five-foot radius around services (from the MTE power line to the home) during our regular six-year pruning cycle only. MTE does not prune around service lines at any other time.

No, MTE prunes trees to prevent electric outages on our system. Therefore, MTE wants to remove that tree before it causes an outage, not after. The tree still belongs to the member. In this case, our immediate priority is to restore power to our members.

Work planners go into the neighborhood to meet personally with members to discuss the work. These work planners are specially trained individuals, many of them certified arborists. They have flexible schedules to maximize their ability to meet with members. If a work planner is unable to contact a homeowner, a door hanger is left that explains the pruning that must be performed. A telephone number is listed on the door hanger. Members who have questions or concerns should call 1-877-414-7685.

Yes, MTEMC has the right and the obligation to its members to maintain any and all vegetation within its ROW. The court and legal system strongly support utilities' right to trim and remove trees and or brush within and outside of the ROW.

Pruning should be done using the lateral pruning method, which was developed by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and approved by the National Arborist Association and the National Arbor Day Foundation. Lateral pruning leaves the overall structure of the tree stronger and more resistant to high winds and heavy ice. Future growth is directed away from power lines. Topping trees (also known as rounding over or shaping) is NOT endorsed by ISA because it leaves trees susceptible to disease and insect infestation.

Yes, if vegetation around un-energized structures such as poles, guys, span guys, etc. creates a safety or reliability risk, MTE may remove it.

Side Pruning

Pruning the branches growing toward lines on one side of the tree. Trees that encroach within 20 feet of the power line ROW will be pruned back.

Crown Reduction

Crown reduction is a pruning practice that MTE employs to reduce the height of a tree in order to achieve clearance from power lines.  Prescribed when the tree is in close proximity to power lines, this technique includes removal of the central leader of the tree

Tree Replacement

When a residential tree must be removed, MTE will replace it with another one of the homeowner's choosing from a list of beautiful, low-growing trees available through our tree replacement program at no cost. Because it is not recommended to plant trees during the growing season, MTE will plant trees from November through mid-April.

Tree Removal

Trees will only be removed if they pose a threat to your electric service. However, repetitive pruning of fast-growing trees directly under power lines is costly, temporary, and ultimately damaging to the tree by increasing the risk of internal decay. Therefore, MTE recommends that members consider removing fast-growing trees.

MTE is proud to be a Treeline USA accredited electric utility.

That means our team of highly trained and certified arborists work to prevent outages caused by trees and vegetation while also ensuring a better environment along our rights-of-way. If you have a question about the trees, plants, or the environment near our electric system, please reach out to our vegetation management team.


Ryan Haley


Bryon Smith

Murfreesboro City

Ethan Weibrecht


Michael Johnson


Jeremy Goldsby