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Managing with Herbicides

Overgrown vegetation near power lines and equipment can lead to power outages. An important part of Duke Energy’s vegetation management program is the environmentally responsible use of herbicides to provide reliable electric service with few electric service disruptions. Herbicide application can promote and encourage low-growing plants, grasses and wildflowers within utility rights of way. This results in an improved, bio-diverse plant community and wildlife habitat.

The use of herbicides is a common method utilized by electric utilities and others, including agricultural and landscape management companies, state departments of transportation, railroads, forest services, the military, municipalities, golf courses, airports, schools, universities and property owners to control vegetation.


Minimizing power interruptions to our customers is a priority at Duke Energy. We continually stay abreast of industry best management practices using trained and professional maintenance crews to selectively apply products to manage plant growth in an environmentally sound manner. All herbicide applications are conducted in compliance with the applicable product labels, as well as local, state and federal regulations.

Purpose and benefits of herbicide application:

  • Trees and woody vegetation that are cut or mowed still have a viable root system that may re-sprout prolifically. Herbicides are applied to prevent sprouts from growing quickly and thereby reduce the need for repetitive cutting and mowing.
  • Application of herbicides results in the growth of compatible low-growing, non-woody plants, such as grasses and other species. These new low-growing plant communities provide greater plant bio-diversity, improving wildlife habitats.
  • The herbicide products we use are approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which requires rigorous toxicological, environmental and chemical testing before the herbicides are registered for use.
  • All applications are performed under the supervision of a licensed applicator.

Where herbicides are used, the program consists of:

  • Foliar application, typically from May through October
  • Dormant-stem application from October through April
  • Cut-stump/vine application throughout the year

We have found that many of our customers are pleased with the herbicide program. For farmers and others with questions, please contact us at 800.521.2232 for more information or to discuss options with a vegetation management specialist.