Vegetation Management

Vegetation Management


Trees make our province a beautiful place to live, but when left unmanaged, they can interfere with power lines and cause outages.

Tree contacts—typically caused by severe weather— are the single largest cause of power outages in Nova Scotia. It’s why our vegetation management program is so important.

 

Tree Trimming in your community


On average, we invest nearly $20 to $25 million in tree trimming and maintenance every year.

Click on your county to learn about how we’ve invested in tree trimming in your area. 

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Pictou County
  • Average annual tree trimming investment (2015-2021): $2,391,441
  • Kilometers of lines covered annually: 510 km
  • Hectares covered annually: 251 (or 620 acres)
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Hants County
  • Average annual tree trimming investment (2015-2021): $871,127
  • Kilometers of lines covered annually: 157 km
  • Hectares covered annually: 193 (or 477 acres)
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Colchester County
  • Average annual tree trimming investment (2015-2021): $1,421,427
  • Kilometers of lines covered annually: 213 km
  • Hectares covered annually: 217 (or 536 acres)
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Queens County
  • Average annual tree trimming investment (2015-2021): $937,223
  • Kilometers of lines covered annually: 159 km
  • Hectares covered annually: 97 (or 239 acres)
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Cape Breton County
  • Average annual tree trimming investment (2015-2021): $1,378,799
  • Kilometers of lines covered annually: 292 km
  • Hectares covered annually: 188 (or 464 acres)
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Inverness County
  • Average annual tree trimming investment (2015-2021): $1,353,079
  • Kilometers of lines covered annually: 324 km
  • Hectares covered annually: 98 (or 242 acres)
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Shelburne County
  • Average annual tree trimming investment (2015-2021): $637,999
  • Kilometers of lines covered annually: 82 km
  • Hectares covered annually: 36 (or 89 acres)
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Guysborough County
  • Average annual tree trimming investment (2015-2021): $690,879
  • Kilometers of lines covered annually: 191 km
  • Hectares covered annually: 27 (or 67 acres)
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Annapolis County
  • Average annual tree trimming investment (2015-2021): $436,318
  • Kilometers of lines covered annually: 50 km
  • Hectares covered annually: 24 (or 59 acres)
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Digby County
  • Average annual tree trimming investment (2015-2021): $1,037,816
  • Kilometers of lines covered annually: 138 km
  • Hectares covered annually: 37 (or 91 acres)
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Kings County
  • Average annual tree trimming investment (2015-2021): $996,363
  • Kilometers of lines covered annually: 209 km
  • Hectares covered annually: 58 (or 143 acres)
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Yarmouth County
  • Average annual tree trimming investment (2015-2021): $678,538
  • Kilometers of lines covered annually: 117 km
  • Hectares covered annually: 16 (or 39 acres)
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Lunenburg County
  • Average annual tree trimming investment (2015-2021): $1,091,676
  • Kilometers of lines covered annually: 213 km
  • Hectares covered annually: 138 (or 341 acres)
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Halifax County
  • Average annual tree trimming investment (2015-2021): $1,353,398
  • Kilometers of lines covered annually: 277 km
  • Hectares covered annually: 168 (or 415 acres)
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Cumberland County
  • Average annual tree trimming investment (2015-2021): $1,352,314
  • Kilometers of lines covered annually: 306 km
  • Hectares covered annually: 128 (or 316 acres)
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Antigonish County
  • Average annual tree trimming investment (2015-2021): $878,176
  • Kilometers of lines covered annually: 158 km
  • Hectares covered annually: 185 (or 457 acres)
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Richmond County
  • Average annual tree trimming investment (2015-2021): $516,823
  • Kilometers of lines covered annually: 84 km
  • Hectares covered annually: 156 (or 385 acres)
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Victoria County
  • Average annual tree trimming investment (2015-2021): $719,866
  • Kilometers of lines covered annually: 209 km
  • Hectares covered annually: 43 (or 106 acres)

      

About our vegetation management program


Our electrical system is made up of over 32,000 km of power lines—the majority of which run along forested areas and tree lined roads. Each year, our vegetation management team identifies work areas throughout the province. Our crews and contractors trim right-of-way paths to ensure power lines are clear of trees and brushes.

As part of this work, we often require permission from customers to complete work on private property. Every time you grant us permission to complete vegetation management on your property, it helps in preventing outages for your community.

METHODS


We use a combination of methods to trim and prevent trees from growing near power lines. Options in rural areas include manually trimming tree branches and other higher growing vegetation near the power lines, removing trees in the right-of-way and where possible, applying herbicides on shorter trees and stumps to restrict tree regrowth.

MOWING & TRIMMING

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.

HERBICIDES

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.

PERMISSION, PUBLIC NOTICE AND WATER PROTECTION

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.

YOU ASKED, WE ANSWER: Tree Trimming


 

There’s a lot that goes into deciding where and when to trim trees that are near our lines.

We look at outage data and trends to better understand where we’re seeing the most outages caused by tree interference. We also consider the condition of our lines through assessments by our forestry teams and requests that come from you, our customers.

frequently asked questions


How does your vegetation management team work?

Our vegetation management team is made up of highly trained forestry professionals and technicians. This team is experienced in assessing what trees pose potential hazards, based on species, tree health or ground conditions.

On any given day, we have anywhere from 50 to 60 contractor crews trimming trees across Nova Scotia. You’ll often see Asplundh, Lucas Tree Experts or R MacLean Forestry vehicles completing this work.

Our power line technicians are also trained in some aspects of forestry work and may need to trim trees as part of a response to an outage.

How do you decide where to trim trees?

There’s a lot that goes into deciding where and when to trim trees that are near our lines.  We look at outage data and trends to better understand where we’re seeing the most outages caused by tree interference. We also consider the condition of our lines through assessments by our forestry teams and requests that come from you, our customers.

When you make a request for a tree to be trimmed through our tree trimming program, it must meet certain criteria. If the tree is deemed to not be a threat to our infrastructure, it may be your responsibly, or a third party’s responsibility to remove or manage the tree. To learn more about responsibilities of different parties, click here.

Any emergency situations, like fallen branches that have resulted in downed wires require our immediate attention. Downed wires are high voltage and dangerous. If you see a wire that poses a threat to you or your community’s safety, please contact us directly at 1-800-428-6230.

Who's responsible for tree trimming?

Both Nova Scotia Power and the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) are responsible for tree trimming within HRM.

HRM manages the tree trimming on all municipality owned trees (typically the trees between sidewalks and the roadway), and we manage the trimming on all privately-owned trees that may pose a risk to our electrical system. This includes any trees that are close to high voltage wires, or any branches that are laying on our lines, or causing damage to our equipment. It's important to note that before trimming on private property, we first need the customer's permission.

Customers are responsible for trimming around the low voltage wire that runs along the street to your home, communications wires, and the support cables that provide physical support to our poles.

For more information on tree-trimming responsibility and submitting a request, visit this page.

MORE 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.