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Seattle City Light DEBRA SMITH, General Manager and CEO
Vegetation Management
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Vegetation Management

Tree Trimming

Maintenance of trees and plants growing near power lines and other utility equipment is critical for avoiding safety hazards and costly outages. With the help of our certified contractors, we maintain over 300,000 trees adjacent to 1700 miles of distribution power lines throughout Seattle, Burien, Lake Forest Park, Normandy Park, Renton, SeaTac, Shoreline, Tukwila and unincorporated King County. We also manage vegetation along 657 miles of transmission power lines passing through five counties across Washington State.

How we trim

Our top priorities are to ensure electrical safety and reliability, while also protecting the health of the tree. We practice directional trimming, recognized as the best method for utility line-clearance by the International Society of Arboriculture, the Tree Care Industry Association and the Utility Arborist’s Association.

What to expect

Before we trim, a City Light representative will visit your home to inform you of the planned work. If no one is home, we’ll leave a door hanger with trimming and contact information should you have further questions.

In an emergency situation, where a tree has caused an outage or poses an imminent safety hazard, trimming may be done immediately with a follow-up notification sent shortly after work is completed. To report an outage or potential safety hazard caused by a tree call 206.684.3000 and remain on the line to reach a customer service representative.

Where are we trimming next? View our interactive tree trimming schedule and map.

Tree removal and replacement

Occasionally, trees that pose a significant safety issue or threaten electric reliability must be removed. We work closely with property owners to arrange for safe removal and provide free tree replacements or vouchers. For customers living in Seattle, we offer replacement trees, watering bags and expert advice through our partnership with the City of Seattle Trees for Seattle Program. Customers living outside of Seattle are offered certificates for free trees redeemable at any nursery that is a member of the Washington State Nursery and Landscape Association. We also partner with the Seattle Department of Transportation Urban Forestry on community planting and site specific tree replacement projects.

As an added service, unless there is a severe storm, crews remove branches, and wood is cut for the property owner or neighbors to use for firewood. During storms, crews must work quickly to remove hazards and restore power to thousands of customers. In these situations, broken and uprooted trees may be cut to access the damaged area and make repairs, and wood may be left at the site in order to proceed with other restoration work.

Tree planting tips

Plan before you plant. The best way to avoid unwanted tree trimming
is to make sure you plant the right tree in the right place.
Read our Right Tree Book first.

Related Content

Landscaping Tips
Thinking about planting a tree? Download The Right Tree Book first or ask an arborist .

Tree Trimming Schedule
Where are we working? View our tree trimming schedule and interactive map

By the Num8ers
View our By the Num8ers infographic to explore interesting facts about the important work of City Light Vegetation Management.

contact us

Ask our arborists a question, share feedback or report an issue using our online form, or call 206.386.1733
Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:00pm.

Utility Discounts
SAVE 60%
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  • Contact Seattle City Light

    700 5th Avenue
    Suite 3200
    P.O. Box 34023
    Seattle, WA 98124-4023

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