Avista manages thousands of miles of electric distribution and natural gas lines, and our vegetation management program aims to help ensure reliable service. With thoughtful landscaping and proper tree selection, you can enjoy your landscape for years to come, without worry that your favorite trees and shrubs could become a hazard. Your efforts can make other differences, too. Reduce the chance of outages, make it easier for crews to repair lines, and watch out for root damage to underground electric and natural gas lines with these tips.
Vegetation planning tips
Plan ahead, because the right tree height matters:
- Near poles: shrubs that grow no more than 25 feet tall
- Up to 50 feet away from poles: trees can be no more than 40 feet tall
- More than 50 feet away from poles: a tree can be over 40 feet tall
- Planting the right tree in the right place can eliminate the need for Avista to trim or remove a tree that is too close to power lines.
- Tree roots will spread out at least as wide as the tree is tall, which is important to protecting underground electric and natural gas lines.
To-do list before you plant:
- Call 811 at least two working days before you dig to plant a new tree.
- Research the potential maximum height of any tree you plant.
- Find your transformer box---and don't plant near it.
- Know where your underground electric and natural gas lines are, to avoid tree root interference.
- Consider smaller, compact native or ornamental landscaping trees and shrubs.
Any tree you plant could develop a crown that spreads 35-55 feet, so it's important to plant the right tree in the right place. Download a brochure to learn more.
Smart vegetation maintenance
- Keep a vegetation buffer of at least 30 feet around your house to reduce the chance of fire reaching your home.
- Inspect trees on your property for insects, disease or structural problems.
- Call a licensed, bonded and insured arborist for any tree work.
- Consider installing sprinkler systems.
- Trim trees and branches away from your rooftop.
- Keep your gutters free of leaves and pine needles.
Avista may come to trim your trees as part of our vegetation management program. Read the FAQs to know what to expect.
Get free trees and other services
Free tree-related assistance
Avista provides no-cost inspection and mitigation to make the following tree-related situation safe:
- A tree near an Avista power line is visibly dead, diseased, or dying.
- Avista's power lines are causing sparking or arching in tree branches.
- Broken branches are entangled or hanging from Avista power lines.
- A service line running from our utility pole to your home needs to be de-energized so that a commercial contractor hired by you can safely trim or remove a tree. (Note: Avista does not trim trees for home service lines as these lines are the property owner's responsibility.)
- Assistance is needed to protect people and power lines because you plan to log or clear trees nearby.
Avista's routine tree maintenance near overhead power lines in urban areas includes chipping of all trimmed branches. Wood that is too large for the chipper is piled and left for the tree owner. If your tree-related project requires a power line to be de-energized, call (800) 227-9187 at least 10 business days in advance.
Free wood chips
Avista offers free low-grade wood chips (good for mulch and weed control) when our crews are pruning trees in your neighborhood. Free delivery within the same neighborhood is available when ordering a minimum of 8 cubic-yards of wood chips. If you are interested, call Avista at (800) 227-9187 and provide your name, location, and contact information.
Free Cycle Buster Tree Replacement
If you own a tree beneath a distribution power line that Avista determines is too fast-growing to maintain, you may qualify for our Cycle Buster Tree Replacement Program. Avista will cut down your existing tree, chip its branches, and provide a new tree that will be delivered to your door through our partnership with the National Arbor Day Foundation. To see if you qualify for the program, call Avista at (800) 227-9187.
Free Cooling Shade Tree
If you are an Avista electric customer who has appropriate space for a large-growing deciduous tree, you can receive a free shade tree, while supplies last, through a partnership between Avista and the Arbor Day Foundation. The goal of the program is to reduce energy use for home cooling and increase the urban tree canopy.
Your free tree should be planted 15 to 30 feet from the southwest corner or west side of your house and at least 50 feet from the nearest power line. To reserve your tree, go to arborday.org/avistashadetree and enter the promotion code: Avista2018