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At Memphis Light, Gas and Water, we know that few things are more inconvenient to you than a power outage, or more dangerous than a downed power line on your property. That's why we do everything we can to get to the root of the problem and prevent these situations from occurring. Simply put, that's why we trim trees. High wind, ice and decay are just a few of the things that can lead to fallen limbs, damaged power lines and costly repairs.

So, to ensure reliable service for our customers, MLGW maintains one of the most proactive tree-trimming programs in the nation. As a matter of fact, it's the second largest expenditure in our electric division. Through this program, trees are trimmed an average of once every three to five years, as crews begin at the Mississippi River and work eastward to the Fayette County line.

Tree Trimming Policy

Our contracted crews regularly trim trees that potentially pose a hazard to a power line or obstructs a street light. And remember, since it may be three to five years before they return to your property, the crew must gain enough clearance to accommodate the tree's growth during this time. The amount of clearance needed is determined on-site and depends on several factors, such as how close the tree is to the power line and the type of line involved.

You may call our Customer Care Center at (901) 544-6549 if you are aware of a tree that is interfering with a power line or is in direct contact with one. Remember, never attempt to trim limbs that are near or touching power lines. Be safe and call MLGW.

  • Trim
    If the customer has tree limbs in close proximity of the pole line, MLGW may trim if distribution lines are in danger.
  • Removal
    If the customer has a tree whose trunk is within 10-15 feet (depending on line voltage) of the pole line, and endangering the distribution line, MLGW will remove the tree. Please note, trees will not be removed due to interference with service drops (line from pole to the house).

MLGW's Line Clearance area will determine whether our facilities are endangered and whether trimming or removal is necessary.

Tree Replacement/Safe Planting

With your written consent, our contracted tree trimming crews will remove a tree that is diseased or dead and that MLGW feels is hazardous to a nearby power line. However, the tree must interfere with a line running from pole to pole, not the service wire leading from the pole to your home.

To avoid planting another tree that might eventually cause the same type of problems, many customers turn to our popular Trade-A-Tree program for a replacement.

Through our Trade-A-Tree program, MLGW replaces the removed tree with one of six low-height varieties absolutely free. We offer customers their choice of a Bradford Pear or Crepe Myrtle, or shrubbery such as a Foster Holly, Photinia, Weeping Privet or Japanese Maple.

Remember, by planting trees away from power lines or by planting ornamental trees or shrubbery, you'll ensure safe, natural growth and eliminate the need for extensive trimming. Even the most properly planted or carefully groomed tree may require trimming over the years to make certain that new growth doesn't interfere with overhead power lines.

To learn more about MLGW's Trade-A-Tree program, or for guidance on how to safely plant near power lines, please call (901) 230-1438.

If you have questions concerning MLGW's line clearance policies, call (901) 320-1438.