Our line clearance program is one of many efforts we employ to help ensure the reliability of your electrical service. For many years now, our program has been honored with the Tree Line USA award. This award, given jointly by the National Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters, recognizes utilities with quality tree-care programs. Detroit Edison is the only Michigan utility to achieve this award consecutively since 1996.
How We Trim Trees
As part of our ongoing preventive maintenance program, we visit each community in our service area, on average, every four to five years to clear trees away from pole-to-pole power lines.
Our first step is to survey your community to locate trees that may need trimming or removal. We evaluate tree trimming and removal on these factors:
- The need to maintain an adequate clearance between tree limbs and energized power lines and other electrical equipment.
- How much a tree will grow between now and the next trim cycle. Slower-growing trees require less trimming; faster-growing trees require more trimming.
- Will strong winds cause the tree to make contact with power lines? Will movement in the lines, such as sagging due to high temperatures, or the weight of ice, cause the lines to contact the tree?
Removal of trees is considered on a case-by-case basis. If we determine that we must remove a tree, we will contact you.
We contract all of our line clearance work to professional tree-trimming services. The crews follow generally accepted industry standards for line clearance, including directional pruning.
Directional pruning is recommended over topping, rounding or other pruning practices. Directionally pruned trees:
- Are less susceptible to insect and disease problems.
- Have a stronger overall structure of the tree that is more resistant to high winds and heavy ice.
- Have only those branches that pose a threat to power lines removed.
- Have future growth directed away from power lines.
Some trees, such as evergreens with one main trunk growing straight up into the power lines, must be topped to allow safe clearance for high-voltage power lines.
Your service drop
Like the majority of utilities nationwide, Detroit Edison doesn’t routinely trim around service drops. The service drop is the wire that runs from the pole to your home or business. This line serves only you, and you are responsible for keeping it clear of trees and branches. Since service drops do carry voltage, we recommend you hire a professional tree service to do this trimming.
Due to the invasion of the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis), a damaging foreign insect pest, dead and dying ash trees are a widespread problem in Southeastern Michigan.
Dead and dying ash trees pose a danger to people, property and power lines because the trees are structurally unstable and may fall at any time. We understand there is an expense involved with tree removal from private property, but the potential for injuries, death and damage to personal property is much worse. Property insurance may not cover the damage caused by dead or dying trees.
Ash trees, which may grow to be 60 feet tall, are increasingly responsible for power outages. Tall ash trees located on private property, far away from power lines, are falling onto power lines, resulting in power outages. We encourage you to do your part to protect your family and friends from injury, and to help keep your power supply uninterrupted by removing dead or dying ash or other trees from your property and disposing of debris responsibly. All Southeastern Michigan counties are under a Michigan Department of Agriculture emerald ash borer quarantine, which regulates disposal of ash-tree debris.
Additional information about the emerald ash borer:
- Safe Disposal Tips (PDF, MSU Cooperative Extension Service)
- Emerald Ash Borer (MI Dept. of Agriculture)
- More on the Emerald Ash Borer (Arbor Day Foundation)
- Disposal Sites (MI Dept. of Agriculture)
- Call your local Cooperative Extension Service office or the Michigan Department of Agriculture's Emerald Ash Borer hotline at 866.325.0023
Under Normal Conditions
- The tree crews will chip and remove the small branches and debris they create when trimming healthy trees.
- Larger wood will be cut and left for your use.
- All branches and smaller limbs from dead or diseased trees will be left on your property for you to dispose of responsibly. This includes debris from all ash trees.
Note: All counties in the area served by Detroit Edison are under a Michigan Department of Agriculture quarantine due to a foreign invasive insect pest known as the emerald ash borer. To comply with the state-mandated quarantine, Detroit Edison’s line-clearance crews will not remove any ash-tree debris after trimming. It is your responsibility to remove this potentially infested debris and dispose of it responsibly (see links, above).
Under Storm Conditions
In a severe storm emergency, brush and wood are left at your property so that we can proceed with other restoration work as quickly as possible. For more details about our debris removal policy during storms and advice on saving storm-damaged trees, please see Storm Damaged Trees on our Credits, Damages and Claims page.
If you have questions about the line clearance work in your neighborhood, please call our Customer Service Line at 800.477.4747 or e-mail our company’s system forester. For the fastest response, please include your name, phone number, street address, and city or township.
Do not report hazardous conditions via e-mail. To report a hazardous situation, call 800.477.4747.
We contract our line clearance work to several nationally recognized line clearance suppliers:
Davey Tree Expert
Energy Group, Inc.
Kappen Tree Service
Nelson Tree Service, Inc.
N G Gilbert