Proper Pruning Techniques

Wayne-White Utility Arborists are well trained in proper pruning techniques that follow the OSHA Regulations, ANSI Standards, and the Illinois state laws. Our goal at Wayne-White Counties Electric Cooperative (WWCEC) is to prune the tree in a manner that redirects the growth away from the power lines….this is called “directional pruning.” When we prune the tree, we complete what we call a 4-year cycle prune. This means that the tree should remain clear of the line until we return in 4 years to prune the tree again. Following are some examples of directional pruning:


pruningCutting away unwanted parts of a plant at a specific point so that what is left will continue to grow normally. The cut removes a branch at its point of origin or shortens it to a lateral large enough to assume the primary growth role.

To minimize damage to the tree, three cuts are required to remove a limb

  • A = The first cut
  • B = The second cut
  • C = The final cut

Side Pruning

Where power lines pass through the side of a tree, side pruning is used. If possible the branches are cut back to a lateral branch that is large enough to assume the primary growth role. Or, a branch is pruned at the branch collar where the limb attaches to the tree truck.

Crown reductionCrown Reduction

Where lines pass directly over the top of the tree, a crown reduction may be necessary. This is done with drop crotch pruning by cutting branches at laterals lower in the tree that are ⅓ the diameter of the branch being removed.


Where lines pass through the center of a tree, Vee-pruning is sometimes used. This removes limbs lower in the tree at the branch collar or at laterals ⅓ the diameter of the limb being removed.

Crown raisingCrown Raising

Where lines pass through the lower limbs of a tree, a crown raising may be necessary. This is done by removing lower branches to allow the lines to pass under the crown.

What About the Trees?

Most of the trees we encounter in our power lines have been planted by nature or by people with good intentions who did not know what kind of tree they were planting or how big it would become.

It is sad to see the natural shape and beauty of a tree spoiled because the wrong tree is in the wrong place.

The arborist of Wayne-White Counties Electric will continue to strive to insure reliable electric service while at the same time preserving the trees that mean so much to all of us.

** Note. Trees that need to be pruned before the 4-year cycle passes are called “cyclebusters” which are addressed in the tree removal incentives.

Certified Arborist LogoWayne-White has in-house crews of Certified Arborists & Utility Arborists that provide daily vegetation management along the right-of-way of our 3000+ miles of energized lines. For more information, call (618) 842-2196.