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Live Wires and Treetops

Ice - broken limbs interupt power service

Greenville is a Tree City USA. We all recognize the value of trees - they improve air quality, provide cool shade in the summer, and beautify our parks and streets.

But trees and power lines are dangerous neighbors!

GEUS crews prunes tree branches around power lines to

  • prevent hazardous conditions
  • maintain uninterrupted electric service


    Please Note: GEUS tree trimming crews work year around to keep primary lines in easements and alleys as clear of tree limbs as is reasonably possible. We appreciate calls pointing out particular problem areas.

However, tree trimming on private property is done only when requested by the customer, or in response to an electric problem call. On individual requests, GEUS can trim small limbs that are making direct contact with the service line, but if limbs are large or the customer desires more extensive trimming, GEUS reserves the right to take the electric service down temporarily for trimming by the customer’s private contractor, if needed for their personal safety or for the safety of the electric line itself.


Keeping power lines clear of trees that could cause outages creates lots of mulch.
Did you know that you can pick up FREE mulch courtesy of GEUS?
Pick up as much as you need and as often as you need it.

Location: 501 Wesley Street

Mulch is piled on the right side of the road once you enter at the City of Greenville Water Treatment sign.


Preventing hazardous conditions

Tree branches often snap during high winds. Branches that fall on power lines create a dangerous situation!
Downed wires are a fire hazard and an electrocution risk. Branches that touch live power lines can also start fires and, since trees conduct electricity, branches that touch electrical lines can make the tree a safety hazard.

Click on the arrow below for dramatic home video of what can happen!

(Caution! The following unedited video contains coarse language. You may want to turn off the sound.)

This broken tree damages both power lines and poleA broken branch hangs on power linesMaintaining your electric service

Downed lines or lines shorted out by contact with wind-blown branches interrupt your electric service. Keeping trees pruned away from power lines is one way to ensure that you maintain uninterrupted service.

Pruning Guidelines

Trimming trees near live lines is DANGEROUS and should be done only by professionals! DON'T DO IT YOURSELF.

In fact, by law, only qualified, trained workers can prune close to power lines. To report trees that need to be trimmed next to a power line call 903-457-2800.

Our trained GEUS tree trimming crews follow pruning guidelines that keep electric utility lines clear of branches while protecting the health of your trees. Proper pruning reduces sprouting, preventing the need for frequent pruning. It also prevents branches from cracking and becoming susceptible to rot.
Tree growing into power lines
Before "V" pruning
Tree after "V" pruning
After "V" pruning
Tree was planted too close to power lines
Before side pruning
Tree after side pruning
After side pruning
Tree was planted too close to power lines
Before "L" pruning
Tree after "L" pruning
After "L' pruning
  • Our crews use "directional pruning" techniques that train trees to grow away from overhead lines.
  • Branches are removed at nodes, where branches meet other branches or the tree trunk.
  • Topping trees or removing the tips of branches is avoided, since it leads to excessive sprouting.
  • Directional pruning may not enhance the beauty of your trees. It will, however, make them safer and help them maintain healthy growth.

Planting Guidelines

Pruning trees away from power lines is a necessary precaution. Your electric utility could get out of the tree trimming business, though, if everyone kept power lines in mind when planting trees!

Tree  Trimming guidelines

Before you plant, check with the nursery to find out the mature height and width of trees you are considering for your landscape. While low-growing shrubs and small trees may be safely planted within 25' of power lines, large trees need to be at least 60' from the nearest overhead lines, INCLUDING THE LINE COMING INTO YOUR HOUSE.

It's also a good idea to call GEUS and other local utilities to locate underground lines before digging holes for new trees.

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