Tree Trimming Procedures

At BPU, we know that few things are more inconvenient to you than a power outage, or more dangerous than a downed power line on your property. That is why we do everything we can to get to the root of the problem and prevent these situations from occurring. Simply put, that is why we trim trees. High wind, ice and decay are just a few of the things that can lead to fallen limbs, damaged power lines and costly repairs. So, to ensure reliable service for our customers, BPU maintains a proactive tree trimming program.
BPU’s tree trimming policy in ROW and easements (summary)
With the advice and consent of the city council, the Board of Public Utilities has adopted the following six tree trimming procedures to fulfill our mission of providing public safety and preventing service interruptions.

  • When we clear the distribution lines, we will use national norms for tree trimming and trim for a three-year growth cycle that is species-specific for the kinds of trees that are in the public right-of-way. Fast-growing softwood trees will be cut back more than slow-growing hardwood trees.
  • We will use a nationally recognized expert in tree trimming procedures and practices that protect the health of the tree. Dr. Alex L. Shigo's manual entitled "Approved Method of Tree Trimming for Natural Directional Pruning" describes the tree trimming procedures that our contractor will use while clearing the public right-of-way.
  • We will not top or round over trees that are directly under electrical lines.
  • We will clear fence lines of any volunteer tree growth since the last trim cycle.
  • The day of trimming, we will hang a card that lists these procedures on the customer's door. The card has a return address and space that the customer can use to make comments and mail the card back to us.
  • Vegetation removed during emergency trimming for storm restoration is not considered necessary trimming and as such, it is the tree owner's responsibility to properly dispose of any limbs. This also applies to the customer's overhead electrical service drop from the pole to the attachment point on the structure. Finally, if we find it necessary to do other trimming or tree removal on the customer's property (work that is other than routine cycle trimming), the customer will be notified prior to our doing any work. For assistance in planting the right tree in the right place, please call 913-573-9900 and leave your name and daytime phone number so that one of our representatives can contact you.
Wood chips – Policy and Availability
If you need landscaping materials, we may be able to help. BPU contracts with a tree trimming service to clear away tree branches from electric lines. Instead of discarding the branches, we grind them down to a fine wood mulch and offer it to our customers free of charge. The average size load of mulch is about 12 cubic yards, which means the dimensions are around 3 feet high, 8 feet wide, and 12 feet long.

If you are interested in a free delivery of this mulch, please call 913-573-9401 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

We will send you an information sheet with a form to fill out and return to us. Before you call, however, please note that from about April through October, the mulch is full of green leaves and is in a compost stage, which takes 4 to 6 weeks to deteriorate. While it is in this compost stage, the mulch may severely damage garden plants and shrubs, and it may attract stinging insects such as yellow jackets and wasps. It will also have a strong odor during the deterioration process, like that of rotting grass or leaves.
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