Trees and Power Lines

The beautiful landscape of our communities serves as a tremendous source of pride for us at Ozarks Electric Cooperative. However, as part of our commitment to provide reliable power in a safe and effective manner, we must remove any natural growth that could pose a risk to electrical lines or public safety.

Tree Replacement Program

Our tree replacement program is intended to replace tall, fast-growing trees under power lines with a species that grows more slowly. We encourage the removal of these tall trees and offer replacement trees that can be planted away from the power lines, or underneath if they will not grow taller than 15 feet at maturity.

The topping of trees is discouraged by all major arboriculture organizations. Topping trees creates a point of entry for disease and creates a weak branch union that is prone to failure in wind, ice and snow.

How The Program Works

Each year our clearing crews work on maintenance trimming cycles in different substation areas. When they trim in your area, they will identify trees that are problematic and will determine if trimming or removal is more appropriate. If the property owner agrees to have a tree removed, he or she can receive up to 3 tree vouchers to be used as the member chooses from local participating nurseries. The names of the participating nurseries will be disclosed if and when you receive the vouchers.

Planting a New Tree

If you are planting a tree, either new or as part of our replacement program, on your property the following information will help you avoid conflicts with overhead utility lines, helping keep service reliable and our membership safe.

Be sure to take into consideration the type of tree and how it will affect that area when it is mature.

Planting Zones

Make sure you understand where to plant your tree in relation to power lines. This helps keep everyone safe as well as reduce any future complications.

There are three main safe planting zones around power lines: small, medium and tall

Small Zone 
This is the area 15 feet either side of power poles. We recommend that no trees be planted in this area. However, small trees that will not reach a height greater than 15 feet at maturity are acceptable. Trees that are planted in this area should not be planted within 20 feet of power poles so that they do not have to be removed when or if a pole replacement is needed.

Medium Zone
This area begins 15 feet from a pole and extends another 35 feet. Trees that have a maturity height of less than 40 feet are recommended in this area. These trees will still have to be moderately trimmed from time to time. In order to prevent future trimming, trees in this zone should be planted where the canopy does not infringe into the small zone area.

Tall Zone
This area is for trees of any height. This area can have all varieties of trees and shrubs without causing any interference with the power lines. Trees that are planted in the right areas give them the greatest chance for survival.


One of the greatest ways to conserve energy and keep electric rates down is right outside your window. By planting trees in the correct locations, you can reduce the amount of energy used by your home. Trees can be used to shade your home, act as a windbreak or as additional insulation. 

By planting the right trees around utility lines and transformers you can help reduce the cost of tree trimming and removals required for safe operation of power lines.


What types of trees are available as part of the replacement program? 
There are many different varieties and species of tree available. For a full list, please contact us.

Why does Ozarks Electric not plant the replacement trees when delivered? 
Due to the quantity of trees replaced each year, we do not have the resources to plant and maintain the trees.

What if I am disabled and cannot plant my replacement trees myself? 
We will assist those that are disabled and not capable of planting their trees. The property owner will need to discuss this with our representative at the time they select their replacement trees.

Will the tree replacement program cause my rates to increase in the future? 
No. It reduces the need to repeatedly trim some trees and this increases the time between trim cycles. Increased time between trim cycles reduces our cost, therefore decreasing the need to pass the cost on to our members.

Why doesn’t Ozarks Electric replace the trees with more mature trees?
It costs a great deal more to buy and transport large trees. Large trees have a large root system that can be easily damaged during transplanting. The chance of larger trees surviving being transplanted is less than that of smaller, containerized trees.