BWL Tree Trimming
We know the greater Lansing community takes pride in our neighborhoods, including our beautiful tree-lined streets. At BWL, we're committed to managing trees along easements and public rights-of-way to provide line clearance that ensures customer safety, safety for electric line crews and reliable electric power, while demonstrating respect for customers and their property.
These resources explain how we work with community members to ensure our power lines are safe, secure and reliable. Check out the current status of our tree trimming program
How We Trim
All vegetation maintenance performed by BWL crews follows pruning standards approved by the American National Standards for Line Clearance. Our goal is to retain the health of trees and other vegetation, as we clear lines to ensure customer safety and system reliability. If you have questions about the tree trimming work in your neighborhood, please call (517) 702-6552.
We strive to complete a tree trimming maintenance cycle throughout our service area every five years in order to provide clearance for power lines.
Tree Markings Used
A blue dot on a tree indicates trimming is planned. A planned removal will be indicated by two blue dots on the tree. A tree marked with an "X" is an approved removal. A red dot on a tree indicates it is a City of Lansing tree that is marked for removal. The City of Lansing Forestry can be reached at (517) 483-4218.
The BWL will mail a letter to customers when we begin planning and performing tree trimming in your neighborhood. Download a sample letter to get the full details.
In the event a BWL employee came to your address and you were unavailable, a door card should be left in or near your door. There are two types of door cards, which are described below.
Pink Door Cards
Tree Maintenance Notification: Trees or tree limbs are touching power lines and need maintenance.
Sorry We Missed You: We responded to your possible line clearance problem and you were unavailable. BWL has inspected the trees and will "mark" on the card what they have found.
Yellow Door Cards
Tree Maintenance Notification: Tree removal is recommended.
The BWL manages tree and vegetation growth along our electric line right of ways to ensure public and crew safety, as well as to provide reliable electric service to our customers. Falling trees and broken limbs are one of the major causes of power outages. The BWL has tree trimming trouble crews who respond to emergent tree concerns that could affect safety and reliability more immediately. Our tree trimming policy is based on the following:
- Best Management Practices for Utility Pruning of Trees
- Trimming trees and brush in a manner that will provide adequate clearance from our electric lines for a 5-year period of time.
- Trimming or removing of trees outside of the cutting zone is the customer’s responsibility
Trimming crews will remove wood and brush that is 4 inches in diameter or less during maintenance trimming. Wood wider than 4 inches in diameter will be cut into handling lengths and left for the property owner. The customer is responsible for removal.
Stump Treatment Practices
Certified trimmers apply herbicides according to state and federal regulations. Stump treatment is regularly performed, as untreated stumps grow shoots covered with foliage.
When severe weather comes through our area, tree limbs can sometimes bring down our power lines. When this happens, we need to work quickly to restore electric service to the affected homes and businesses. Problem trees will be cut so our line crews can make needed repairs. However, the BWL does not pick up brush or cut wood into handling lengths as a result of storm damage.
The tree debris, brush and wood will be left on your property so we can continue to the next site that needs our attention.
Please wait until all electric line repairs are complete before cleaning up your yard. Hazardous, energized electric lines could be hidden under your brush. If you see a downed line, please stay at least 25 feet away and call us immediately at (877) 295-5001.
Trees are a valuable part of where we live, helping to moderate our weather along with supplying us with life giving oxygen. When you consider planting a new tree at your home, please allow us to assist you. Together, we can add value to your home for years to come.
Guidelines for Planting Trees
Consider the type, location, and eventual height of the trees to improve safety and electric reliability. Pay attention to where you plant each tree to enhance the value of your property, save energy costs, and prevent costly maintenance trimming or potential damage to your home.
We encourage you to plan your landscaping with our clearances in mind. Remember to consider how much the landscaping will spread as it matures, because we must trim or remove foliage or structures that invade these clearances.
Before you dig, call Miss Dig at 1-800-482-7171 to locate all underground utilities. Please call this free service three full work days before you dig or plant trees.
We are a member of the American Public Power Association's TREE POWER program to improve the environment and promote energy conservation. We can help you plant the right tree in the right place and maintain it. Download a brochure about our tree trimming program.
Some power lines are located underground and the BWL has transformers that connect and regulate an underground service.
These transformers require periodic maintenance, and therefore it’s important your landscaping doesn’t obstruct access. We require an 8-foot clearance from the front of the transformer cabinet, as well as a 3-foot clearance around the back and the sides.
Our transformer boxes contain stickers to keep you informed of instructions and dangers pertaining to the underground utility.
Customers often ask about having their electric service converted to underground to eliminate the need for tree trimming. Installing underground facilities may require boring under or near trees, which can damage the root system of the tree. Please keep in mind, if a tree is planted over our underground service and the service fails, the tree may have to be removed to access the underground cable. Underground electric is also more expensive and not always possible to install.
If you would like BWL to remove tree debris after regular maintenance tree trimming, please use this form to place a request. Otherwise, these individuals have expressed an interest in salvaging wood from the BWL’s tree trimming activities. Customers can contact individuals available and willing to salvage wood from customer properties. The BWL makes no recommendations of these individuals, and customers should make arrangements at their own risk.
- Dan Chamberlin: 517-243-5184
- Kevin Dittmer: 517-256-4411
- Ken Schafer: 517-204-2078
- David Reinhold: 248-982-5249
- Mark Byford: 843-364-0712
- Mitchell Waterbury: 734-747-1473
- Paul Putnam: 517-749-8944
- Douglas Pitchford: 517-574-3996
- Benjamin Long: 517-242-7161
- Gina Rial: 517-819-2600
- Philip Lee: 517-667-9131
- Global ReLeaf of Michigan
- Michigan Green Industry Association
- Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association
- Michigan State University Dept. Of Forestry
- Michigan Urban and Community Forestry Council