How we trim trees
Our tree trimming practices keep vegetation a safe distance away from powerlines and are guided by your feedback and industry standards.
Tree trimming from crane

Ausgrid consults with customers and council representatives on our approach to tree trimming, and we regularly engage with councils on our current program to ensure we incorporate community feedback where possible.

Our tree trimming guidelines, standards and plans determine how we manage vegetation across our network. The clearances required between powerlines and poles and tree branches are governed by Ausgrid’s network standard (NS179), the Industry Safety Steering Committee Guide for Management of Vegetation near Electricity Assets (ISSC3) and the Australian Standard Pruning of Amenity Trees (AS4373)

Our Tree Safety Management Plan describes our approach to vegetation management in more detail. 

Trimming responsibilities

Ausgrid’s responsibility is to maintain minimum clearance distances around poles, wires and assets by keeping them free from vegetation. Landowners are responsible for maintaining vegetation around private poles and powerlines inside their property boundary. Tree trimming within the minimum vegetation clearance around powerlines can only be be carried out by suitably qualified vegetation management workers. Find out more in Tree trimming responsibilities.

How we trim trees

Minimum Vegetation Clearances around electricity assets are based on industry standards recognised by the industry regulator, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal NSW (IPART). The amount we trim depends on:

  • the tree species
  • the health of the tree
  • the type of powerlines or poles
  • other safety considerations, (for example, if it is in a bushfire prone area).

Once crews have trimmed to the minimum clearance distance, some amount of regrowth between vegetation management cycles is allowed. This means that in certain scenarios (depending on factors such as the type of electrical wire or species of tree), the vegetation is allowed to grow closer to the powerline. Our crews regularly assess each tree individually so although the vegetation may be within the clearance zone, it has been determined to be safe and will be trimmed on our crew’s next scheduled trimming date.

To protect the health of the tree, branches are trimmed to their nearest growth point or collar. This protects the tree from infection and disease and is in line with the Australian Standard Pruning of Amenity Trees (AS4373).

The graphics below show the clearance zone with the regrowth allowance for overhead powerlines.

Clearances are 0.5 to 6m depending on species, wire type, location and bushfire risk. Generally, in residential areas the clearance around bare low voltage powerlines is 1 metre.

Ausgrid Tree Trimming clearances

Ausgrid is only permitted to clear vegetation inside the minimum clearance zone around our assets. All other trimming of vegetation outside of the minimum clearance zone on public land is the responsibility of your local council. If you believe that additional trimming is required for vegetation, please contact your local council.

How we respond to tree trimming inspection requests

  • When a tree or vegetation safety inspection request is received, our maintenance crews will inspect the location to confirm whether there is a safety risk.
  • Where the tree is deemed to be growing within Ausgrid’s electricity network clearance distances, the tree will be referred to specialist maintenance crews who are trained to safely trim trees around the electricity network. Ausgrid may engage a horticulturalist and arborist to inspect the health of the tree and ensure any required trimming is completed to standard.
  • Where the tree does not pose a risk to public safety or the electricity supply, the location will be flagged for our specialist vegetation maintenance crews to check during the next scheduled vegetation maintenance activity for that area.

When do we trim trees?

The majority of tree trimming takes place during scheduled vegetation maintenance activities and are conducted by our specialist contractors throughout the year. The suburbs due for inspection and trimming activities are shared online one month ahead – see Tree Trimming Locations.

Ausgrid has an allowance within our safety guidelines to allow some vegetation to grow within the specified clearances in between trimming cycles, so although the vegetation maybe within the clearance zone, we have determined it to be safe until the next scheduled trimming cycle.

How long will it take to complete tree trimming activities in my street?

The duration of tree trimming depends on several factors including the amount of trimming that is required and the species of tree. Typically, contractors complete tree trimming works within a day, then clear any tree clippings or materials within the next 48 hours. 

What hours does tree trimming work operate?

Maintenance work will be carried out during our standard operating hours: Monday to Friday – 7am to 6pm, Saturday – 8am to 1pm, with no work on Sundays or public holidays. Exceptional circumstances may mean work will need to take place outside standard operating hours, in which case affected residents and businesses will be notified prior.

Consultation on our vegetation management guidelines and plans

Ausgrid appreciates the important role vegetation plays in our communities and the value placed on the visual amenity, aesthetics, appearance and impact on local streetscapes. We have worked closely with our stakeholders to develop and review our approach to vegetation management, including:

  • Local Councils inside our network area
  • Residents
  • Community groups
  • Peak industry bodies

If you would like to provide feedback or make an enquiry about Ausgrid’s tree trimming activities, please contact us on 13 13 65 or online.