Tree Trimming and Power Lines

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The City of Fairfax has been a member of the Tree City USA program for more than 30 years.  The city's commitment to the care and maintenance of trees has resulted in a lush and mature canopy throughout the city limits.

Each summer and winter season brings with it extreme weather events — and Mother Nature has no set schedule!  The combination of mature trees, extreme weather and overhead power lines results in heightened opportunity for power outages. This document provides information and guidance to address Frequently Asked Questions focusing specifically on the maintenance of trees that are in close proximity to overhead power lines, what you need to know to recognize a potential issue, and what to do in the event you observe an issue.

Dominion performs routine tree pruning and vegetation management along its power lines on a 3-to-4 year cycle.  The timing or this tree work is driven by scheduled inspections and observed growth along the path of a particular stretch of overhead lines.  The goal of trimming by the Dominion Forestry Department is to maintain a safe clearance between tree limbs and the power lines.  Staying out of the danger zone  is mostly applicable to people working around or operating mechanical equipment in the vicinity of power lines. But, overgrown or damaged tree limbs pose a safety risk as well, mostly in the form of downed power lines resulting in service outages.

As stated above, extreme weather events become more likely each summer and winter.  Damaging winds, rain, snow and ice raise the potential for damage to trees, causing limbs to drop into the danger zone.  This damage can occur anytime between the regularly scheduled Dominion inspection cycles. Weakened limbs will eventually die and the drop onto the power lines causing outages when they would least be expected.  If you observe a tree limb that currently encroaches on the danger zone around power lines, or is at risk of doing so in the future, please contact Dominion to report this situation.

If you are interested in learning more about Dominion Energy’s ongoing efforts to improve service reliability or looking for planting guidelines associated with what to consider when planning landscaping work around power lines, please click on the embedded links provided.

If you still have questions or unaddressed concerns regarding tree maintenance and trimming around power lines in the vicinity of your property, please email trees@fairfaxva.gov.