Tree Trimming and Vegetation Management

Tree Trimming

Call us at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357) to request tree trimming or if you have questions. Dominion will cut and remove tree limbs and/or brush from property as needed to maintain reliable electric service.

Customers are responsible for:

  • trees/limbs that fall and are removed from wires or are cut for service restoration,
  • dead, diseased, damaged or leaning trees that are cut/trimmed at any time by Dominion, or
  • trees that are cut to provide proper clearance for the customer or contractor to remove a tree.

Safety Tips:

  • Before you trim, make sure the tree does not have any power lines in or near it. If it does, call us at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357). Don't climb in or prune trees through which power lines or service lines pass. This is very dangerous without the proper equipment and training.
  • When landscaping, don't plant any trees or shrubs that will grow taller than 10 feet under power lines. It will be safer and prevent outages that can occur if trees or tree limbs are blown onto power lines.


  • Tree Trimming Brochure

  • Vegetation Management Presentation

  • Guidelines for Planting Near Powerlines - Open right-of-way areas beneath high-voltage transmission lines can be made interesting and attractive through landscaping with shrubs and low-growing plants. However, there are restrictions on placement and height. When landscaping, never plant trees under power lines. It's safer and helps avoid power outages.
  1. View a list of suggested species to consider when planning the landscape. (Feb. 2010)
  2. View our brochure, Guidelines for Planting Near Powerlines.  (Low-res 12 MB)  (Hi-res 68 MB)

Vegetation Management and Our Rights-of-Way

How We Manage Tree Removal and Vegetation Along Our Transmission Rights-of-Way

Dominion is committed to reliable electric service. One dependency is how well we maintain the right-of-way for our thousands of miles of transmission lines.

When brush or trees come in contact with power lines, lights go out. We want reliability, but we're also aware that vegetation near power lines is important to the appearance of homes, communities and the environment.

Our program to manage vegetation along high-voltage transmission line right-of-way corridors is carefully planned to be both efficient and environmentally responsible. Trained and certified foresters evaluate each right-of-way area to determine the right approach, using a combination of mechanical clearing, hand clearing, and herbicide application.

In accordance with federal requirements imposed to prevent potential blackouts, Dominion must remove selected trees within and adjacent to our transmission right-of-ways that have previously been trimmed or allowed to grow. To the casual observer, these trees may appear to be a safe distance from lines, however dramatic changes can occur during windy conditions or when wires sag due to increased temperatures or heavy electrical loading. Dominion uses the latest technologies and predictive computer modeling to identify and remove the vegetation that threaten reliability, public safety, and compliance with federal standards.

To carry out this important work, Dominion’s employees and contractors follow industry recognized best management practices and methods. We retain only those contractors who follow guidelines established by the National Arborist Association and the American National Standards Institute to prune or remove trees, mow brush and apply herbicides.

Herbicide Applications

Herbicide use represents only a small part of Dominion's rights-of-way maintenance, but it is important in controlling maintenance costs. We use low-volume foliar herbicide applications during spring and summer months, and stump treatments on both cut brush and trees year round. The stump treatments eliminate resprouting and reduce the need for maintenance. Herbicides are applied in small quantities only and are applied by trained applicators.

For more information on Dominion's herbicide program, view our Vegetation Management Presentation or the Frequently Asked Herbicide Questions provided below.

Right-of-way clearing in conjunction with new construction

Prior to building a new power line the right-of-way must be cleared to allow construction activities and eventual transmission line operation. Property owners will be notified before construction clearing begins.  Existing low-growing vegetation may be left in place when it does not interfere with construction activities.  Additionally, trees located outside of the right-of-way which are tall enough to potentially impact the transmission line, may also be removed. These trees are commonly referred as danger trees; view a diagram of danger tree clearances.  

Encroachment Request

You must get prior written approval to encroach on Dominion's right-of-way with shrubs, vegetable gardens, roads, drainfields, etc. Without prior approval, any plantings are subject to removal by Dominion or our contractors. In some instances, lack of prior approval may cause the property owner to be required to remove the encroachment at their own expense.

Please include a sketch or drawing with as many specific details as possible about the proposed landscaping and/or other proposed encroachments when you submit an encroachment request packet.

For information on the transmission line right-of-way encroachment request process, contact the Manager - Transmission Right-of-Way at 1-800-215-8032, Option 1.

Herbicide Questions and Answers

Are the contract crews Dominion hires qualified to apply herbicides?

Yes, the crews in both Virginia and in North Carolina are qualified. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services,, certifies the members of the contract crews to perform this work in Virginia.

What chemicals are being used? Are these chemicals harmful to humans and animals?

Dominion's contractors vary the mixture of herbicides used from one cycle to the next to avoid the development of resistance by the plants being targeted. However, general use herbicides are used that are similar to the products you might purchase at the store to control weeds in your lawn.  They work by interfering with metabolic processes specific to plants. When used properly, these products are no more harmful to humans or animals than common household products. Because they are so effective on plants, they are used in diluted solutions – usually less than five percent (5%); the rest is water.

Where can I find more information about the chemicals being used?

There are several web sites available online. However, the best source of information is your local office of the Virginia Tech Extension Service,

Are the vegetables in my garden safe to eat after the chemicals are applied?

Your vegetable garden would not have been directly sprayed, whether it's on or off the right of way. Dominion Virginia Power's contractors are trained to avoid vegetable gardens just as they avoid the many agricultural fields adjacent to brush acreage on our right-of-way. 

Some vegetation in my yard appears to have been affected by the herbicide application. Is a certified arborist available to look at the vegetation and assess the situation?

All of our transmission foresters are International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborists. They are experts at recognizing the effects of herbicides on plants. 

How long will the chemicals remain active once the herbicide has been sprayed?

The herbicides that are used are designed to work inside the plant and break down very quickly - in a matter of days or weeks - in the presence of sunlight or in soil. Whatever is not taken into the plant before it dries disappears quickly.

May our children and pets play in the yard after the herbicide has been sprayed?

Herbicides are applied only to the brush areas in the right of way. In other words, unless your yard is on the right of way and contains brush, it would not have been sprayed. The area that is sprayed is safe to reenter as soon as the crew has moved off and the vegetation has dried.

If I operate an organic farm or have other concerns about Dominion’s herbicide program, how should I contact Dominion?

If you have concerns, would like more information about Dominion’s herbicide program, or would like to discuss the option of your property being designated as a “no spray” area, please contact customer service at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357) and ask to be referred to a vegetation management specialist who can assist you.

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