Arbor Day: SDG&E’s Arborists Work to Keep Local Trees and Communities Safe

Arbor Day: SDG&E’s Arborists Work to Keep Local Trees and Communities Safe

During these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of maintaining the trees in our region, and our arborists are continuing their work to keep our local trees and community safe.

SDG&E’s vegetation management team includes certified arborists who understand the value of trees and take pride in how they manage the inventory of trees located near our utility infrastructure. They also work to educate the public on tree safety, including how to help prevent fires, electric shock hazards and power outages by planting the right tree in the right place – clear of electric lines both overhead and underground.  

Every tree in our inventory has a unique tree ID. Each year, SDG&E inspects each of these trees and updates specific data such as customer information, clearances, and property information.

“Our teams trim trees to help reduce the risk outages, fire and other impacts to our power grid,” said Don Akau, a certified arborist and SDG&E’s vegetation and pole integrity manager. “By leveraging a work management application to track the maintenance schedule of trees and their conditions, we are able to manage hundreds of thousands of trees near our infrastructure and closely monitor another half a million trees outside our right of way.”

The work of our vegetation management team recently received Tree Line USA recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation for the 18thtime for demonstrating our commitment to proper tree pruning, planting and care in our service area. 

Meeting Tree Line USA standards means training employees in quality tree-care practices, educating the public about planting trees for energy conservation and helping homeowners plant appropriate trees near utility lines for safety — the organization states that meeting these standards not only helps provide beautiful trees for the future, but also yields long-term savings for customers.

“Trees are a critical part of urban landscapes all across the United States,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “They provide important benefits to residents, including clean air, clean water and a tolerable climate. Service providers like San Diego Gas & Electric demonstrate that it’s possible for trees and utilities to co-exist for the benefit of communities and citizens.”

For more safety information, and to learn about the importance of SDG&E’s Right Tree, Right Place program visit To learn more about our work for wildfire mitigation, watch our documentary, "Everything in Our Power."