Vegetation management

Keeping Your Power Lines Clear

Learn about DMEA's vegetation management program.

Trees beautify our communities, provide habitat for wildlife, offer shade, and help keep our environment clean. But trees that grow too close to or into DMEA’s power lines, can result in power outages and safety risks. That’s why DMEA operates an aggressive vegetation management program that keeps our power lines clear of trees.

Why does DMEA trim and remove trees?

  • Safety: Trees are excellent conductors of electricity. When they grow into power lines or even just too close, it presents a major safety hazard. Electricity can travel through the tree and severely injure or kill individuals who may be working or playing on or near the tree.
  • Reliability: Maintaining a proper clearance of at least 15-25 feet between our power lines and trees minimizes the impact trees have on your electric service. This clearance space helps prevent wind, snow, and ice from breaking tree limbs and sending them into the power lines.
  • Affordability: By maintaining clear rights-of-way around our power lines, we prevent the need to repair and replace power lines, poles, and other equipment that may have been damaged by trees during storms. The upfront cost to our vegetation management program is outweighed by the significant savings from reduced outages and equipment maintenance.

How does DMEA trim and remove trees?

DMEA’s priority is to remove trees that are within our power line rights-of-way on our primary power lines.

Primary power lines are the lines you see running from pole to pole on our system. DMEA removes trees within our rights-of-way along these lines because they carry high-voltage electricity to our local communities and require special care and handling. In some cases, these lines cross private property. While DMEA has the authority to remove trees located within our rights-of-way on private property, we understand this can be frustrating for homeowners. You can opt to tell us that you do not want your tree(s) removed. In this instance, DMEA will provide one complimentary trim. After that, you will be charged every time we must trim your tree. Depending on the species and growth rate of your tree, this could result in substantial costs to you.

DMEA is not responsible for trimming or removing trees along the service lines running from our poles to your home.

The service line carrying power from our system to the meter on the side of your home has the least impact on power outages, therefore DMEA does not maintain vegetation clearances along these lines. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to trim trees and vegetation along these lines. Always hire a qualified and licensed professional tree trimmer to perform any work along your service lines. You must also request a temporary disconnect and we will de-energize your service so your contractor can safely trim back your trees.

How can you help?

You can help us keep our power lines clear of trees by following better practices when you plant trees. With lifespans ranging from 50 to 5,000 years, you’ll want to plant your tree in a place it can flourish long-term, not under power lines.

  • Don’t plant trees within 25 feet of DMEA’s power lines.
  • Only shrubs or small trees (growing less than 20 feet high) should be planted within 25 feet of power lines.
  • Don’t plant any vegetation around DMEA ground equipment, such as poles, transformers, or junction boxes.
  • Call 811 before you dig to locate any buried utility lines.
  • Report any trees growing into power lines or other DMEA equipment immediately to 877-687-3632.
  • Never trim these trees yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is responsible for trimming trees?

DMEA will trim trees away from our high voltage distribution lines. DMEA maintains tree clearances within DMEA power line right-of-way. Tree trimming and removal is required to avoid trees and limbs coming in contact with power lines causing outages, damage, and safety issues. You may not like how we trim trees! The best way to protect your investment in landscaping is to plan ahead - know the size of your trees and shrubs when full grown and avoid planting near both the overhead and underground utilities in your area.

I understand the need to not plant trees near power lines, but can I hide the ‘green boxes’ using large rocks and retaining walls?

DMEA asks that our members avoid putting landscaping items within 10’ of our equipment. Working with high voltage equipment is a dangerous job which requires a safe working zone for our employees. During outage events, linemen also need to find and access the equipment quickly. If the need arises, we will remove landscaping to restore power to DMEA members.

Also, digging can damage underground lines and cause electrocution or fire. To avoid accidents or incidents, call 811 or 800-922-1987 (Utility Notification Center of Colorado). There is no charge for this service, but all locations must be called in a minimum of three business days before digging begins.

For more information on electrical safety, visit

Why does DMEA trim trees?

It is absolutely essential for DMEA to trim trees for safety, reliability, and affordability.  

  • Safety: Electricity can travel through trees and injure or kill anyone working or playing on the tree. In addition, trees growing too close to power lines increase the risk of deadly wildfires.
  • Reliability: Maintaining proper clearance around lines significantly reduces the chance that adverse weather will send trees or limbs into our lines and equipment.
  • Affordability: Preventing the need to repair and replace our power lines, poles, and equipment because of tree damage helps deliver affordable electricity.
What is the property owner responsible for?

DMEA’s vegetation management crews are responsible for trimming and removing trees along all our primary and transmission lines. Property owners are responsible for trimming and removing trees on the secondary line that brings electric service from the transformer to their homes. Members should work with licensed and insured tree trimmers to do this work.

After DMEA’s crew clears trees from a line, how long does cleanup take?

After a trimming job is complete, all debris will be cleared and chipped within three business days. All wood larger than 6” to 8” in diameter will be left on site for the landowner to use. In rural areas, wood chips will be broadcasted on site, and in unmaintained areas, branches will be lopped and scattered.

Can members keep leftover branches?

All wood larger than 6” to 8” in diameter will be left on site for the landowner to use. We can also leave other debris on site at the member’s request.

Does DMEA give away wood chips?

Due to safety reasons, DMEA does not deliver or give away wood chips.

I think I have a tree that might damage power lines. What should I do?

Never attempt to trim trees growing near power lines yourself. It is extremely dangerous and against the law. Always call DMEA at 877-687-3632.

I don’t want DMEA to remove or trim my trees. What are my options?

DMEA has the right to remove and trim any tree or vegetation growing in our rights-of-way. This work helps prevent expensive outage repairs and reduces the risk of wildfires. If there is a hazard tree growing in our right-of-way on your property, we will notify you of the need to remove the tree. Property owners that do not allow our crews to complete this work, will be held responsible for any damage caused by their tree(s) and incur the cost of all future trimming.


James Benton

Vegetation Management Supervisor