Collaboration the Key to Vegetation Management Under Power Lines

May 16, 2017

Vegetation Featured
Saskatchewan is home to many tall, beautiful trees. In fact, we've grown and cultivated more than 10 million of them ourselves at our Shand Greenhouse.

Unfortunately, we have to trim or remove tall trees that grow too close to our power lines and other electrical equipment. Trees in Saskatchewan cause about 10% of outages per year, and they can be a significant safety risk and even cause fires.

We're working with a research team from the University of Saskatchewan to investigate the environmental and social effects of vegetation management under power lines in Northern Saskatchewan. Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) is an approach to manage trees around power lines using some innovative techniques, including:
  • Encouraging shorter vegetation such as grasses and shrubs to grow and eventually "outcompete" the growth of trees near power lines.
  • Regularly consulting with local stakeholders and indigenous communities including participating in education programs for students in northern communities on preventative measures.
  • In some limited cases, the use of herbicide with monitoring of the impact those herbicides have on the local environment.

Employees identifying plant species

Emloyees surveying around power poles

Employee in lab looking through microscope

Employee surveying saplings

Employee spraying forest floor

This initial two-year project will take the first steps towards understanding the impacts of vegetation management and herbicides on northern Saskatchewan right-of-ways (power line lanes). We've used IVM for decades in southern Saskatchewan with a lot of success. We also talk to our customers regularly about Right Tree Right Place planting techniques to prevent problems before they occur.

Whether it's in remote or rural areas, or your backyard, we need to safely manage vegetation that threatens our power lines. But as with most things, we believe the best option is still to nip it in the bud.

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