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Tree Trimming for Reliability and Safety

The number one cause of power outages in New Hampshire is falling tree limbs that contact or down wires and break other electrical equipment. That’s why a major part of PSNH’s maintenance of more than 13,000 miles of power lines includes trimming nearby trees and vegetation that may be interfering with power lines and could cause power outages or pose risks to public safety.

To help ensure reliability and your safety, PSNH’s certified arborists oversee tree-pruning professionals who remove interfering branches and trees on a scheduled trimming cycle. Our goals are to:

  • Reduce the impact of major storms on your electrical service
  • Reduce the number of momentary tree-caused interruptions (when your lights dim and digital clocks blink)
  • Remove dangerous limbs or trees to enable clear visual and physical access to electrical equipment for safer and faster repairs
  • Prevent damage to electrical equipment

tree trimmingTypically, PSNH schedules pruning, trimming and cutting—or, what is known as vegetation management—along our power lines in cycles of 4 to 5 years, with occasional mid-cycle trimming for locations that cannot wait until the next scheduled cycle. We won’t trim any trees that are on or abutting your property without first notifying you and requesting your permission.  

You can learn complete details on how we prune, trim, and cut by visiting Our Tree Trimming Guidelines.

For Your Safety

  • Don’t attempt to prune trees or branches around electric lines running from the utility pole to your house.
  • At no cost to you, PSNH will remove tree branches or limbs located between a utility pole and your home when they are directly rubbing on the electric wires.
  • If you choose to hire professional tree pruning contractors, PSNH will temporarily remove the electric wires leading from the pole to your home. Call us at 1–800–362–7764.

Right Tree In the Right Place

Veg Mgmt PlantingYou can help keep PSNH’s power lines free of vegetation interference by planting low-growing trees and shrubs near power lines, and keeping larger trees at a distance. Selecting the right tree for the right place will help avoid power outages and the need to continually trim the tree away from the lines:

  • Plant smaller shrubs and trees (under 30 feet at maturity) beneath power lines. Good choices for our New Hampshire climate include several varieties of cherry, crabapple, dogwood, and plum trees, as well as hawthorn and viburnum shrubs.
  • Plant medium-sized trees and shrubs (30 to 50 feet at maturity) 15 to 30 feet away from power lines. These include: Columnar beech, American holly, European hornbeam, and katsura.
  • Plant large trees (more than 50 feet high at maturity), such as oak, maple, spruce, and pine, 50 feet or more away from power lines.

For more tips on proper planting for vegetation management, visit Trees Are Good and the Utility Arborist Association.