Tree Trimming Policy

A branch of tree catching fire due to hitting power lineOur urban forest is important to the well-being of our city. We value the shade and beauty of trees. They have an enormous dollar value benefit for everyone living in Hastings by controlling erosion and storm water, lowering air conditioning costs, and providing wildlife shelter. However, trees that interfere with power lines can cause power outages that interrupt service. That creates potential danger for you and your property. But that danger can be avoided by not planting tall-growing trees under or near electric wires and by routine tree trimming. The following are answers to the most commonly asked questions concerning Hastings Utilities' tree trimming policy:

Will Hastings Utilities Trim or Remove Trees?

Trees that interfere with or have the potential for interfering with existing utility lines or trees that obstruct the route of new lines will be trimmed or removed. There are however, two exceptions:

  1. Trees that interfere with service wires (wires from utility poles to the customer's house or building) will not normally be trimmed or removed. Arrangements can be made to have these wires temporarily removed to permit the property owner or contractor to trim or remove the tree. If you want electric service wires temporarily disconnected to trim or remove a tree, contact Hastings Utilities several days in advance to ensure the availability of a utility crew at the desired time. This service is available at no charge during normal working hours, but may be delayed due to emergency work. If the work must be done after normal working hours, weekends, or holidays, a service charge will be required.
  2. Hastings Utilities will not trim trees near streetlight or yard lights to improve illumination.

If Hastings Utilities requires that a tree be trimmed or removed, all branches and wood cut from the tree will be removed from the property by Hastings Utilities. The property owner may keep any portion of the wood desired. However, Hastings Utilities will not cut wood to uniform length nor stack the wood. Trees to be removed will be cut as close to ground level as possible. Hastings Utilities will remove stumps if they are accessible.

Fallen trees or limbs that have fallen from standing trees are the responsibility of the property owner. The property owner is also responsible for the disposal of all limbs and wood resulting from the trimming of storm-damaged trees for Hastings Utilities service restoration effort.

Is Permission of the Property Owner Necessary Before Doing Tree Work?

Provisions of right-of-way easements grant Hastings Utilities the authority to trim trees without property-owner permission to provide for a safe and reliable electric system. However, Hastings Utilities respects the property of its customer-owners and will notify the property owner of the need for tree work before trimming is done. In unusual or emergency situations, it may be necessary to trim trees without first notifying the property owner in order to restore service or eliminate safety hazards.

Hastings Utilities recommends the removal of trees that will require extensive trimming on a regular basis. However, trees will not be removed without the property owner's permission.

What About The Care And Removal of The Terrace Trees?

The maintenance of trees located on the public terrace is the responsibility of the property owner.

The Hastings Parks and Recreation Department will remove any dead trees located on the public right-of-way.

All fallen limbs are the responsibility of the property owner. Stumps shall be removed by the Park & Recreation Department staff, provided they are accessible.

Property owners may not remove, or cause removal of, any living terrace tree without the permission of the Hastings Parks & recreation Department.

Planting Trees

The National Arbor Day Foundation encourages thoughtful practices that help preserve community trees while also serving a utility company's customers.

Diagram of correct size of trees on a property

This drawing demonstrates effective planting, placing the right tree in the right place. Trees properly placed can lower line clearance costs for utility companies, reduce tree mortality, and result in healthier community forests. Trees can add value to your home, help cool your home and neighborhood, break the cold winds to lower your heating costs, and provide food for wildlife. Tall trees surrounding your home, such as maple, oak, pine and spruce, provide summer shade to lower cooling costs and keep out cold winter winds. Medium trees, 40 feet or less in mature height, might include Washington hawthorne and Golden raintree, while smaller trees suitable for planting beneath utility lines might include Redbud, Dogwood, and Crabapple. When planting near utility lines, consider a 25 foot maximum mature height and 20 foot spread.

Tree Facts:

A tree can grow to manufacture five pounds of pure oxygen per day, consume carbon dioxide to fight the "greenhouse effect" that threatens our survival, and provide the cooling equivalent of ten room-size air conditioning units.

A tree, over a 50-year period, will generate $31,250 worth of oxygen, provide $62,000 worth of air pollution control, and recycle $37,500 worth of water.

Trees conserve energy, reduce soil erosion, clean the air we breathe, and help protect rivers and streams. If trees are to provide all these benefits, we need to care for the trees we have, and to plant more.

For more information on trees, including punning and planting guides, go to the National Arbor Day Foundation website. If you are planning to plant new trees near power lines, we would like to help you select the right tree and location. Contact Hastings Parks & Recreation at 461-2324.

Remember, anytime you are planting trees you need to call the Diggers Hotline of Nebraska at 1-800-331-5666 to determine the location of any underground utility lines.