Vegetation Management

Why tree trimming matters

Tree contacts are the single largest cause of power outages in the province.

Nova Scotia’s electrical grid is made up of over 31,800 km of power lines throughout the province. Trees are a big part of why Nova Scotia is such a beautiful place to live, but when left unmanaged, they can interfere with power lines and cause outages. At times power lines run along roadways lined with trees or through heavily forested areas and the vegetation management program conducts work on right-of-way paths to ensure power lines are clear of trees and brushes.


Improved Reliability: Trees touching the power lines are the single largest cause of power outages in Nova Scotia. Managing the vegetation to mitigate the risk of trees growing into, and trees fromfalling into the power lines minimizes the number of trees that cause outages.

Increased Safety: When trees come incontact with electrical equipment, safety risks can be present. A power linecan be broken and be a potential electrical contact risk when on the ground andcan pose a potential fire risk when in continuous contact with a tree.


Working In Your Community

Like other electric utilities, we manage an annual vegetation management program to help maintain safe and reliable power lines across the province. Each year, our vegetation management team identifies work areas throughout the province and our contractors use a combination of methods to prevent trees from growing near power lines. 

Our vegetation management team assesses every work area to determine the best approach to managing tree growth. Options in rural areas include manually trimming tree branches and other higher growing vegetation adjacent to the power lines, removing trees in the right-of-way and where possible, applying herbicides on shorter trees and stumps to restrict tree regrowth. 

Tree trimming map of Nova Scotia from 2018 to 2020


We use a combination of methods to manage vegetation growth near power lines.



Aerial trimming of trees

Qualified foresters use bucket trucks to prune branches that are too close to energized equipment. We direct remaining growth away from the wires to prevent trees from growing into the power line.


Mechanical clearing

At sites with tree regrowth, mowers are used to clear the site and open space for shrubs to grow.


Manual clearing

Areas are selectively cut with chainsaws and brush saws to ensure only tree growth is removed. We also use this method around streams to ensure some tree and shrub growth is left to provide shade and cover for wildlife.



NSP Vegetation Management Project

Herbicides have been widely used for years to safely manage vegetation growth and are more effective than only cutting trees. Cutting hardwood trees leads to quick regrowth of new tree sprouts from the stump, interfering with the growth of low-lying shrubs and requiring our crews to return more often to the area for maintenance. Herbicide application effectively prevents this regrowth, thus promoting the growth of lower-growing plants like grasses, shrubs, ferns and berries that do not interfere with power lines. The herbicide most often used by our forestry crews is Garlon XRT, which is registered for use by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) of Health Canada.



Herbicide use is regulated through an approval from the provincial government. Prior to any application, Nova Scotia Power submits project maps to the Nova Scotia Department of Environment. All approvals require a buffer from watercourses and from private water supplies. Nova Scotia Power publicly advertises for at least 20 days prior to any work beginning and posts street-level notification on site at least seven days prior to any herbicide application.

Questions for us?

Our forestry team responds to any questions or concerns about vegetation management activities and can be reached through our Customer Care Centre.