Vegetation management

Ensure safe, reliable service and help prevent wildfires

While trees and other vegetation are an important part of a clean, safe and healthy community, they also can grow to interfere with our power lines and electrical equipment, causing power outages and creating a fire hazard.

  • Power outages
    Trees that have been planted near power poles can grow so high that that limbs can interfere with power lines and other equipment. During summer monsoons, strong winds and heavy rain can break off branches or topple entire trees. The debris can damage power lines and power poles, causing costly outages that can affect thousands of customers.
  • Safety issues
    Fallen power lines may still be energized, which can present a safety hazard to homes, roadways and pedestrians. If you see a downed power line, stay away from it and call 911.
  • Low voltage
    Electric current is always looking for a way to get to the ground, and vegetation can provide a convenient path. This can result in low voltage to your home or an entire electrical circuit serving hundreds or thousands of customers. Low voltage can damage appliances and other sensitive electronics in your home or business.

How we trim vegetation

UniSource works with Asplundh Tree Expert Company year-round to identify trees and vegetation growth that might interfere with our overhead lines and ground equipment. Click here to learn more about how UniSource determines where to trim vegetation: Clearing the Way For Reliable Service

Line clearance crews clear vegetation from public property and rights-of-way once every three years. More frequent pruning may be required in some cases. Crews also prune vegetation growing on private property away from overhead distribution lines once every three years at no cost to the property owner. A property owner may be billed if tree trimming crews are required to return within three years for additional work.

Be aware that crews may need to enter private property to complete this work. Customers can identify workers by their safety vest and ID tag. For planned trimming, UniSource make a good-faith effort to notify nearby residents in advance of the work, although that might not be the case in more urgent situations.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does UniSource trim trees?

Asplundh Tree Expert Company's experienced crews strive to prune only when absolutely necessary.

They use a technique called "directional" or "lateral" pruning, which is approved by the U.S. Forest Service, the National Arbor Day Foundation and other arbor organizations. This technique removes only limbs that have the potential to grow into and interfere with electrical equipment. While this method of pruning is best for the tree, it may result in an asymmetrical appearance. Click here to learn more about how UniSource prunes trees that interfere with overhead lines.

Will UniSource “round over" a tree when trimming it?

UniSource does not "round over" branches or use "topping" techniques, which can cause faster-growing sprouts that interfere with electrical equipment. This technique can also weaken the tree. When trees are planted directly beneath power lines, branches must be cut back. Our pruning methods help direct the tree's canopy to grow away from overhead equipment. Alternatives to pruning or cutting down trees, including running lines underground or altering the routes of power lines, may be done at the request and expense of customers.

Who should I contact if I see trees and vegetation overgrowth near UniSource power lines or other electrical equipment?

Contact UniSource at 877-837-4968 for vegetation management questions or concerns.

Can I trim trees on my property that are near power lines?

No, customers should never attempt to clear vegetation near our energized electric lines or equipment. Customers who wish to trim vegetation on their property that may be near our lines should first call UniSource Customer Care at 877-837-4968 to request that service temporarily be suspended so that you can complete this work safely. There is no cost for the temporary suspension of electric service and the reconnection.

Will Unisource clear vegetation on my property from the power line that connects to my property?

No. Customers are responsible for clearing vegetation from electric service lines that connect their home or business to our local distribution lines.

What can I do to help prevent problems caused by overgrown vegetation?

Customers can help us maintain reliable service by making sure they plant the right tree in the right place at their home or business. Before planting a tree, know how tall and wide your tree may become when fully mature so that you can leave a safe distance between the tree and our electrical equipment and other structures it might meet. Also consider whether the root system might interfere with your home’s foundation or walkways over time. To avoid any problems, vegetation should be kept at least 15 feet away from overhead electrical equipment.

What does UniSource do with all this green waste? Do you recycle it?

Yes, some of our tree clippings are donated to nonprofits to help reduce the amount of green waste that goes to the landfill.

In Santa Cruz County, some of our shredded and chipped green waste is used by the Sunflower Campground near Tubac. The campground uses the mulch as dust control on its roads and around trees and shrubs to nourish them, reduce water evaporation and usage and protect the plants from heat.

In Mohave County, our clippings are used by the Dig It Kingman Community Garden, which composts them into usable material for controlling weeds, retaining moisture and adding nutrients to their raised plant beds.

Organizations in our service areas that are interested in receiving our green waste for useful purposes are invited to contact us at 877-837-4968.

Before you dig – Call 811

Picking up a shovel before you pick up the phone can lead to unnecessary injuries, property damage and damaged underground electrical equipment that can cause power outages.

Before you dig a hole to plant a new tree, call Arizona 811 at 1-800-STAKE-IT (1-800-782-5348) at least two working days before you dig so that underground lines can be marked. This is a free service and it’s the law. UniSource will locate our company-owned service lines at no charge.