It’s a jungle out there. Or, at least it’s starting to resemble one in many Detroit alleyways where overgrown trees and brush have become tangled, limiting access and impacting electric service to nearby customers.

Trees account for two-thirds of the time DTE customers spend without power. Tree trimming is a common-sense solution to prevent outages from happening in the first place. However, in some areas the overgrowth is so thick, that the alleys are nearly impossible to pass through or enter.

Tree trim is especially important in areas like Detroit, where overgrown lots and alleyways can hide dangers like downed power lines caused during severe weather events.

Determined to get the job done and improve electric reliability and safety for Detroit residents and businesses, DTE switched up its process. Previously, tree trimming in the alleyways was done by hand. Trimmers would walk the alley with tools and trim as they go. Now, where possible, crews are using mowers and bucket trucks to safely and quickly clear trees and debris.

“We know that trees are one of the main causes of power outages, because the limbs and debris fall onto our equipment, damaging it and causing outages,” said Shannen Palmer, DTE tree trim manager. “The mowers and bucket trucks allows us to access some of the most overgrown areas quickly and more safely, so that we can do the work, and ensure safer more reliable energy for our customers.”

See how it’s done.