NHEC’s  Herbicide Application Treatment Information


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Does NHEC use herbicides to keep vegetation from interfering with power lines?
Yes, NHEC uses herbicides that are approved for this use by regulators in limited locations and under strict guidelines. Before using herbicides, NHEC must receive a permit from the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture. When herbicide applications are made, NHEC follows all the requirements set forth in the permit. All products are federally registered and labeled for this specific use by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are applied by licensed contractors according to product label directions. On-site use inspections are also conducted annually by the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture.

Why does NHEC use herbicides?
The targeted use of herbicides is part of our Integrated Vegetation Management program, which also includes mechanical control like hand-cutting and mowing. The goal of our program is to control vegetation in NHEC rights-of-way to minimize outages and make it quicker and safer to restore outages when they do occur. Use of herbicides is a safe and cost-effective way to control certain types of vegetation growth in selected areas. Our goal is to promote low, slow growing species in rights-of-way that will not interfere with power lines, while discouraging the growth of tall, fast-growing species.

Are the herbicides that NHEC uses safe?
The EPA approves these products for use only after determining they will not adversely affect people, animals or the environment when applied correctly.

When does NHEC apply herbicides?
Herbicides are typically applied during the warmer months of the year (May through December). Targeted applications are typically made in rights-of-ways that have been mechanically cleared the year before. That way, we are able to selectively apply herbicides to the stumps of recently cut hardwood trees. These targeted applications prevent the root system of the recently cut tree from producing multiple re-sprouts that can regrow quickly and crowd the right-of-way with undesirable tall growing species, often requiring an out-of-cycle clearing of that right-of-way.

How are the herbicides applied?
Vegetation Control Service (VCS), our licensed contractor, applies approved herbicides under the supervision of NHEC Arborists. Applicators walk the rights-of-way with hand operated back-pack sprayers and apply product onto individual plants, stumps or compact clusters of plants. Aerial or wide-area spraying is not done. Herbicide applications specifically target fast growing tree species which can damage nearby electric facilities. Grass, flowers, vegetables and low growing shrubs do not damage power lines and are not targeted during herbicide applications.

Will NHEC be applying herbicides near my water supply?
Herbicide applications do not take place within 75 feet of known private water supplies or 250 feet of public water supplies. Please note: Landowners are responsible for making NHEC/VCS aware of the location of any potentially affected water supply and of any other environmentally sensitive area where herbicide applications should be avoided. Please call VCS at 603-325-3227 if your well is within 75 feet of a power line right-of-way.

How does NHEC notify members of a planned herbicide application?
NHEC communicates with members and the public before herbicide applications are made. In areas where treatment is scheduled to occur that year, NHEC employs a three-step notification process:

Step1: NHEC notifies the municipalities where applications are scheduled, including the line numbers and roads where the work will occur.

Step 2: NHEC notifies all abutters within 200 feet of a right-of-way where applications are scheduled via certified mail or personal visits to the member’s property. A door hanger with information about the applications is also left at the member’s property.

Step 3: NHEC runs two ads/public notices in newspapers with regional or statewide circulation. These ads state the planned locations of herbicide treatments scheduled for that year and how members can contact us or VCS with questions/concerns.

Can I refuse treatments on my property?
Yes. Our members have the right to refuse the application of herbicides on their property and we respect that right. If you are notified about an herbicide application at your property and would like to opt out for this calendar year, please fill out and submit the form HERE; or contact VCS at (603) 325-3227. Non-member landowners may also opt out of herbicide treatments on their property by calling VCS or submitting the form HERE. VCS and NHEC are glad to address any issues or questions you may have about an herbicide application on your property. Email: vegetationmanagement@nhec.com

What are the names of the herbicides NHEC uses? 

NHEC uses a range of different herbicides depending on the year, the location and other conditions. If you have questions about specific herbicides, please contact VCS at (603) 325-3227, or email vegetationmanagement@nhec.com