Planting & Trimming

Vegetation Management Program

Tree Trimming

linemen in box trucks working on power poles near treesIn 2022, we have contracted with both Asplundh and Trees LLC. Asplundh will be trimming right of ways in Sault, Sugar Island, Dafter, Bruce, Bay Mills, Pentland and Superior townships. Trees LLC will be trimming right of ways in Sault, Bay Mills, Pickford, Hiawatha, Thompson, Manistique, Garfield, Newton and Portage townships.

Tree care professionals contracted by Cloverland Electric Cooperative use ‘directional’ pruning techniques. These techniques were developed by the National Arborist Association and are published by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Directional pruning removes entire branches and limbs back to the main trunk of the tree, where trees normally shed them. By using this practice, future tree growth is directed away from power lines and attached re-growth is minimized. Directional pruning takes advantage of strong points in the tree’s structure. Branches growing away from electric lines or facilities with adequate line clearance are usually left undisturbed. Directional pruning does not harm the tree’s natural defense systems and other natural processes that protect the tree from decay and aggressive re-sprouting.

Directionally pruned trees may appear misshapen. In the long run, however, such trees are less susceptible to pest and decay problems and less likely to drop branches and cause damage during storms. In fact, compared to other methods such as topping, stubbing, or pollarding, directional pruning is better for the protection of the tree’s health. Where severe pruning is necessary to obtain satisfactory clearance, the tree may be selected for removal.

Read our May | June 2022 Spotlight on Vegetation Management

Tree Planting and Low-Growth Vegetation

When planting trees around overhead power lines typically found in residential areas, homeowners can help prevent service interruptions and minimize the need for pruning in the future.

The key is to select the right kind of tree for the location. Avoid planting any tree directly underneath power lines. Make sure any variety of tree planted is at least 15 feet outside of the power line right-of-way and will grow to a mature height of 15 feet or less. Small trees such as flowering Techny Arborvitae, Dogwood, or Nannyberry are ideal for these locations. In addition, such trees often feature smaller root structures. So they’re also less likely to crack sidewalks and driveways or to clog underground drain lines.

Plant taller trees farther away to ensure they can’t grow into power lines. At distances of 15 to 50 feet, plant trees that grow to a height of 40 feet or less, such as Cherry, Honey Locust, Horse Chestnut, and Mountain Ash. If you want to plant a tree that grows tall, such as Maple, Oak, Pine, or Spruce, make sure it’s at least 50 feet from the nearest overhead lines.

Check the Arbor Day website tree guide for the expected mature height and crown spread of trees you are considering.

  • Average mature height under 20 feet — Shrubs, Dogwood, Flowering Plums, Hawthorne, Sumac, Hornbeam, Redbud
  • Average mature height up to 40 feet — Sassagras, Post Oak, Quaking Aspen, Eastern Redcedar, Flowering Pear
  • Average mature height up to 60 feet — Pine Oak, Arborvitae, Green Ash, Hemlock, Blue Spruce
  • Average mature height up to 80 feet — White Oak, Linden, Red Oak, Tuliptree, Walnut, Many Pines
  • Average mature height up to 100 feet — Ponderosa Pine, Redwood, Plane Tree

Whether you’re looking for more summer shade, an effective windbreak, or just to enhance the beauty of your property, start by selecting the right tree for your location. Consult with your local nursery or your county agricultural extension agent. If your planting area has power lines nearby or if you have any questions, call our member services department at (800) 562-4953.


2019 Update — In June 2019, Cloverland’s board of directors voted to discontinue using herbicide until further notice.

Past herbicide use:
In 2019, Thunder Bay Tree Service contractors plan to apply a different herbicide mix that does not contain glyphosate. This change was through the direction of the cooperative. 94% of this product mixture is water and expected to yield the same results as other herbicides. It is also not classified as a hazardous substance or mixture according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Hazard Communication Standard. The herbicide will be selectively applied to woody plants and broadleaf weeds using backpack style hand pump sprayers. Low volume applications will take place from May to October.

This herbicide contains Garlon 3A(5%) by Dow Agrosciences, Escort XP TM Herbicide by Dupont (0.25%), MILESTONE by Dow Agrosciences (0.09%), and Elite platinum (0.5%).

Years of experience and studies show the safest and most efficient way to keep electric rights-of-way clear of trees and brush is through the careful use of herbicides. Cloverland uses a selective herbicide program that assures safe and easy access for our service and maintenance needs while preserving natural surroundings – including wildlife habitat – for all to enjoy.

With less competition for moisture, sunlight, and nutrients, a meadow-like setting filled with beneficial grasses and wildflowers thrives. Studies show these types of programs enhances wildlife habitat by promoting grasses, low growing shrubs, and other ground cover preferred by birds, deer, and other small animals.

The herbicides used work on enzymes found only within plants, not people or animals. These compounds enter through leaves and stems to control the plant from the inside. What’s more, the products we use have undergone years of testing. The EPA approves such products for use only after determining they will not adversely affect people, animals, or the environment when properly applied.

In using herbicides, Cloverland is utilizing a “best management practice” accepted and promoted by the electric utility industry to provide cost-effective right-of-way vegetation management. Vegetation management with herbicides is half the cost of any other method and decreases over time. Other methods of maintenance increase in cost over time. Many of our neighboring electric cooperatives, private utilities, and counties use this important vegetation management tool.

Considering the impact of alternative methods of brush control, such as mechanical mowing, herbicide applications result in less damage to the environment and to wildlife populations. The destruction of nesting sites and beneficial vegetation, erosion of soil, and negative visual impact are serious concerns to right-of-way management. The Game Lands Right-of-Way Study conducted by Penn State University began in 1953 and continues to prove how important the use of herbicides can be in establishing a bio-diverse right-of-way that enhances wildlife habitat.

Cloverland requires crews that apply herbicides to follow strict usage guidelines. These crews must hold a pesticide application license from the state in which they work or they must work under the direct supervision of a certified applicator. Furthermore, they must conform to all state and federal laws.

If you have a question or concern about the use of herbicides, please contact our Vegetation Control Manager at (906) 253-0852.