Tree Trimming

Trees that touch or fall on power lines can cause wildfires, power outages, property damage or personal injury. Trees interfering with power lines are one of the leading causes of interruptions in electrical service in Chelan County. The PUD’s Tree Health and Safety Program is designed to prevent trees from coming in contact with power lines. All lines are routinely inspected for vegetation encroachment, and pruning is performed on a two to four-year cycle.

The PUD prunes and/or removes trees that are in close proximity to overhead transmission & distribution electrical lines. In most situations, the customer is responsible for pruning or removing trees along secondary electric lines to the electric meter.   We encourage you to contact the PUD prior to pruning near electrical lines. The PUD will disconnect and reconnect your secondary electrical service at no cost which will allow you or a third party to prune safely.

Occasionally there are free wood chips available. These wood chips consist of everything the tree crews are pruning and can be dumped on site in 8-10 yard piles.

If you have questions regarding trees, identifying the overhead electric lines or would like wood chips, please contact Bill Sanborn (, PUD forestry program manager at (509) 661-4508.

Tree pruning

The PUD's method of directional pruning is recommended by the National Arbor Day Foundation and the International Society of Arboriculture and best for the safety and the health of your tree. It involves removing only those limbs that will come in contact with power lines. Pruning cuts are made at intersecting lateral branches. Directional pruning reduces the number of times the tree must be pruned, reduces the number of fast-growing and weakly attached sprouts, and by directing growth away from the power lines, allows the tree to achieve its natural height and shape.

Tree removal

Occasionally, it may be necessary to remove trees or brush. During routine inspections, PUD certified arborists look for trees that pose a threat to PUD facilities. If you are concerned about a tree on your property, or are interested in possible removal of a tree near power lines, please contact the PUD.

Plant the right tree in the right place

Selecting a tree for planting is not a decision to be taken lightly, and is especially important around utilities. A tree requires space to grow both above and below ground. Use this Tree Planting Guide to find trees that are low growing and can be planted near power lines.

Properly placed trees help conserve energy by providing shade in hot summer sun and wind breaks in the winter.  Trees also clean the air we breathe by the absorption of carbon dioxide through the process of photosynthesis carbon fixation.


Call the Dig Council at (800) 424-5555 before you plant. Trees should be planted at least 6 feet to the side of underground power lines and equipment.

For information about tree pruning, contact the PUD forestry program manager at (509) 661-4508.

Image of incorrect tree v-pruning

Incorrect "V-pruning" can weaken trees near power lines.

Diagram of a vpruning tree

The diagram above shows how trees look when they are pruned in a V shape, which can weaken trees. The diagram below shows directional pruning -- the preferred method.

Image of a tree that was done with Directional Pruning