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Addressing Hazardous Trees

How we identify and manage trees threatening your electric reliability

Our forestry team is committed to balancing the importance of trees with keeping your lights on.

While many species of trees cause outages, nearly one in four tree-related power outages is caused by an Ash tree. Since 2003, the Ash tree population in Ohio has decreased at an alarming rate because of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). Native to northeastern Asia, EAB is a small beetle that feeds on ash trees, leaving them susceptible to failure.

Because of the invasive nature of this tiny bug and the damage they’re causing to trees, we knew we had to tackle this problem head on — and fast.

What We’re Doing

While we regularly trim and remove trees that are too close to our lines and equipment as part of our normal maintenance program, the AEP Ohio Forestry Team is taking extra steps to remove hazardous trees outside of our right of way that pose a threat to your electric service.

In 2018, we launched our Hazardous Tree Program to address dying and diseased trees that might cause a problem with your electric service. Many of these trees fall outside of our established boundaries to trim, but we’re working closely with landowners to get permission to proactively remove those that could pose a threat.

In 2019, we removed more than 150,000 hazardous trees — and our team is on track to do the same this year. We’re actively tracking EAB migration through Ohio and treating every Ash tree as though it’s infected because of the invasive nature of the beetle.

How You Can Help

Be on the lookout for signs of EAB infestation

EAB were first found in Ohio in 2003. By 2016, there was a known infestation in every Ohio county. They’re difficult to detect until after trees are infected. Once the beetles hit an area, it can take anywhere from three to seven years to start noticing the disease in trees.

Trees may display a number of symptoms when EAB attack including:

  • Dead of thinning leaves around the top of the tree
  • Sprouting around the tree trunk
  • Woodpecker damage
  • D-shaped exit holes
  • Splitting bark with S-shaped markings

Don’t move firewood

The key factor contributing to the spread of Emerald Ash Borer is the movement of infested firewood. If you are traveling to a campsite or off your property, do not bring firewood from home. Use local sources of firewood. In the rare case that you do transport firewood from home, do not leave it at that site — burn it in a safe area.

We're Here to Help

Our team is available to make assessments about questionable trees near power lines on your property. You can submit a question, description and/or photo to our team at AEPOhioForestry@aep.com to request our help.

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