Trees – Trimming & Planting

Tree Trimming

Let us help keep you and our community stay safe…

When it is time to trim, cut or plant your trees it may seem faster and easier to do it yourself rather than to contact a professional.  Even if you are considering having professional arborists/landscapers perform your upkeep, it’s important to contact us and Montana 811 (UDIG) 755-UDIG for a free line locator before, just to be safe.

Flathead Electric Co-op is Here to Assist You

The Co-op is able to locate our primary, high voltage lines on and off your property and throughout our community. That’s why we encourage you to give us a call before you trim your trees, and If you have a tree or trees growing near or into our primary, high voltage power lines, we will come out and trim or even cut the tree, free of charge to you.

Trees that grow too close to power lines can be an extreme safety hazard for children and tree trimmers. Only qualified workers are allowed to work within 10 feet of an energized line. Flathead Electric tree trimming crews, or contract trimming crews are trained in the latest pruning techniques as presented by the International Society of Arboriculture. Please call Flathead Electric Right of Way at 406-751-4410 if you have questions. For more information, review the Right Of Way Handbook (PDF).

We understand that you take pride in homeownership and the maintenance of your land, but In the best interest of public safety and providing our workers with a safe working environment, following these instructions can mean the difference between life and death.  We ask that members plant and maintain only grass, flowers, or low-growing, trees, hedges or shrubs within the 15-foot zone, either side of the power lines.  By following these simple requests you will help us to continue to provide you with reliable, efficient service in the future.

For your reference, Flathead Electric maintains a list of Small Trees – maturing at less than 25′ tall (PDF).

Community Perspective on Trees

Flathead Electric’s mission statement reads: “As a member owned cooperative, we strive to provide competitive and reliable service, achieve the highest level of member satisfaction and enhance the quality of life in our communities.”

Flathead Electric’s Vegetation Management Program has important impacts on both parts of this statement. First, because trees are the cause the majority of our outages and second, trees are a very important part of the natural beauty of our valley.

We understand conflict that sometimes occurs when trees need to be trimmed or removed along power line corridors. However, with some forethought and good information, we can avoid these conflicts and turn them into win-win situations. Members can plant and maintain landscape trees or shrubs as ornamentals or buffers, and Flathead Electric can provide more reliable service while increasing public and worker safety as partners on a landscape team.

Our Vegetation Management Plan places our entire system on approximately a ten-year cycle. This is a pro-active approach at improving and maintaining reliability and minimizing storm outages. Danger trees (dead or defective trees that threaten the line), or hazard trees (climbable, or containing a tree house) will be removed as they are reported, or during the regular cycle trim.