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Vegetation Management Frequently Asked Questions

How will I be notified of tree trimming in my area?

  • We notify all customers in the area by automated voice messaging before our contract Consulting Utility Foresters (CNUC) begin identifying work to be done.
  • We notify customers with work identified on their property by postcard in advance of trimming in your neighborhood/area to alert people about line clearance tree trimming to be performed by our certified line clearance contractor, Asplundh Tree Expert Co. 
  • If you have questions or concerns about tree trimming in your area, call the Vegetation Management message line 855-812-7830.

When will tree crews arrive?

  • Contract tree crews usually start within 2-3 weeks after the postcard is sent and may be in your area for several months to complete the necessary work.

How will I identify contract consulting foresters and tree crews working on behalf of Avista?

  • Avista uses CNUC as our contract Consulting Foresters. CNUC employees drive small white pickups, and each CNUC employee has an Avista ID badge.
  • Avista uses Asplundh Tree Expert Co. for our contract line clearance crews. Asplundh employees drive orange or white full size pickups or large dump box type trucks.
  • All contractor vehicles should have a visible decal indicating that they are “under contract to Avista”.
  • As a courtesy, all contract employees have been instructed to attempt customer contact at the time of work by knocking on the customer’s door.

My trees haven’t caused a problem recently so why trim them?

  • By using a proactive systematic approach we can reduce the frequency and duration of tree related outages while providing for the safety of our customers, their property and our line service crews working in the field.

Can I hire my own tree contactor to trim trees within 10’ of an electrical conductor?

  • There are state and federal laws that regulate tree maintenance. Avista does not interpret these laws for our customers or private contractors.
  • Laws and regulations include ANSI Z133.1, OSHA 1910, WAC 296-45 and Idaho’s Overhead Line Safety Act.
  • Avista enters into formal agreements with certified power line clearance contractors to trim trees and clear rights of way corridors throughout our service territory to ensure the safety, reliability and integrity of our electric and high pressure gas pipeline facilities.

Will my trees be professionally trimmed? What will my tree look like?

  • Contract tree crews are supervised by International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist who have the skill and knowledge to make the proper cuts on the tree.
  • Certified Arborists use proper tree pruning techniques recommended by the ISA Best Management Practices Manuals.
  • Contractors trim trees away from electrical wires using directional pruning techniques recommended by the ISA and the American National Standards Institute ANSI A300 – Utility Pruning Standards.
  • Directional pruning concentrates on removing limbs back to a lateral branch. This technique reduces how quickly a tree grows back and directs growth away from power lines. It also retains as much of the natural tree crown as possible for photosynthesis.
  • We realize pruning trees for line clearance does not always improve their appearance, but directional pruning methods are healthier than older obsolete “topping” or “shaping” trimming methods.

What if I don't want my trees trimmed?

  • Customers should call the Vegetation Management’s message line 855-812-7830, to schedule a site visit by a CNUC consulting forester.

  • Customers MAY talk to the crew Foreman (white hard hat) if on site (or nearby) and ask the Foreman to skip the customer’s tree(s) until a site visit with a consulting forester can be arranged.

  • Please stay well outside the crew’s work zone for your own safety.

Which overhead power lines does Avista trim for?

  • Contractors trim primary and secondary facilities. You may notice other lines attached to the pole that are not cleared for. These may be telephone, cable TV, and other telecommunication companies.
  • We do not trim for your service line. If you would like to trim for this wire we can temporarily remove the wires from the house(s) in order for you or your contractor to do the necessary work. Please contact the Avista Call Center 72 hours in advance (during normal business hours) to make arrangements for this at 800-227-9187.

When are trees removed?

  • In yards Avista recommends removing trees that are too big or fast growing to maintain under power lines.
    - If a tree is removed, our crews will chip the branches and leave the wood for the property owner to use.
    - Stumps of deciduous trees will be treated to prevent re-sprouting.
    - Trees further than 10’ from our lines with limbs encroaching the 10’ that homeowners want removed are “safety trimmed”. The homeowner is responsible for hiring a contractor to finish and clean up the job.
  • Along roadsides, county and state right-of-ways, unmaintained areas, and right-of-way corridors, Avista recommends that all smaller, tall growing trees that are within 10-15 feet either side of the wire be cut down before they reach wire height.
    - Wood over 4 inches in diameter will be left.
    - Stumps of deciduous trees will be treated to prevent resprouting. 
    - Branches (less than 4 inches) and tree tops will be chipped. In areas inaccessible to our equipment the branches and tree tops will be lopped and scattered along the right-of-way corridor.
  • Trees outside the right-of-way that are visibly dead, diseased, or dying and likely pose a hazard are felled and left on site. No clean up will take place for dead trees.

Can I get a load of free wood chips?

  • If you’d like free wood chips, please call the Vegetation Management at 855-812-7830, to leave a message.
  • The wood chips are available only while the tree crews are in your area. The minimum delivered load is 8 cubic yards.
  • They are not high grade landscape material but are excellent as mulch and weed control and may be used for playgrounds and walking trails.

Will I be charged for any tree work done on my property?

  • No. As part of Avista’s regular tree maintenance program, we will trim trees within 10 feet of a power line. In such cases, the tree work and cleanup of debris is at no cost to the customer.  In yards, Avista may also remove trees within 10 feet of a power line on a case by case basis, and will contact the property owner regarding these potential removals. 

Can I pick up wood left behind by line clearing activities?

  • Anyone (other than the property owner) wanting wood left behind from line clearance maintenance must ask the property owner for permission, not Avista or Asplundh contract crews.

Does Avista clean wood or debris left after trimming?

  • Clean up of debris from trees or branches downed during a storm is the responsibility of the homeowner. A commercial tree service can do necessary cleanup or customers doing the work themselves can take the debris to the Clean Green site at their local recycling center.
  • Avista does not clean up wood and brush when the homeowner requests the work

Where can I find more information on arborists?

  • Tree information and tips on how to hire arborist can be found at www.pnwisa.org, the web site for the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture and at www.isa-arbor.com, the web site for the International Society of Arboriculture. Also, County Extension Offices and City Parks Departments are good local sources of tree information.
  • You may also find Arborists in the Yellow Pages under tree service.

What kinds of trees can be planted near power lines?

  • Only plant tree species that mature at 20’ or less near power lines.
  • For more information, view a list of power line compatible trees, or please call 855-812-7830.
  • For more species selection good sources of information are the Spokane Urban Forestry approved street tree list, County Extension Offices, City Parks Department, certified arborists, and reputable plant nurseries.
  • If planting in city strips there may be ordinances over species selection.

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