While physical removal is often the most expedient way to remove some vegetation in a right of way, selective use of safe, EPA-approved herbicides can be a better alternative in the long run.
Mowing and cutting may leave roots intact, which can allow undesired plants to re-grow and invasive, non-native species to take hold.
When properly and selectively applied by professionals, herbicides can completely eradicate undesirable vegetation and encourage the growth of dense, native grasses and wildflowers that are no threat to the lines or a hindrance to repair and maintenance crews.
Rights of way treated with herbicides need less maintenance than those that are repeatedly mowed.
Selective use of appropriate herbicides encourages plant diversity that provides good nesting cover and sustainable habitat for wildlife—habitat that can be maintained more safely at less cost and less disturbance to wildlife and property owners.
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) recently released the preliminary results of a multi-year research project with Southern Company and TVA that looked at the relationship between integrated vegetation management (IVM) and biodiversity. Read more about their research and findings in the EPRI Journal here.