For the first time in four years, Eversource Energy plans to apply herbicides under some of its power lines on the Vineyard.

The energy company’s 2017 operational plan for the Cape and Islands, issued in January, targets 17 rights of way in the region, including West Chop and Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road. A public comment period ends March 27.

A similar plan raised alarm among Cape and Island residents in 2013, when Eversource resumed its use of herbicides following a four-year moratorium in response to public concern.

Eversource spokesman Michael Durand said this week that the company generally operates on a four-year cycle and has not applied herbicides on the Island since 2013. He added that the use of herbicides on the Island decreased between 2013 and the previous application in 2009, as a result of promoting native, low-growing plants.

“Those species are taking over in the rights of way and crowding out the taller invasive species,” he said. “Because of that, every time we go back to our work there is less area that needs to be treated because the compatible species are taking over.”

He said the herbicides are applied manually using backpack sprayers.

Four years ago Islanders raised concerns about how the chemicals might effect the environment, and pressed for better communication from the company. There were similar concerns on the Cape.

According to the 2017 operational plan, Eversource uses chemicals “that are low in acute toxicity, do not bioaccumulate and, as applied, have a short half-life with low soil mobility.” The chemicals are approved by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and reviewed by the state. The plan notes that in eastern Massachusetts, Eversource uses only herbicides approved for environmentally sensitive areas.

A list of recommended herbicides and adjuvants for 2017 includes Rodeo, which has been a source of controversy due to its active ingredient, glyphosate, which is thought to be carcinogenic, although studies have concluded it does not pose a risk in everyday situations.

Mr. Durand said glyphosate is the chemical Eversouce uses the least (mainly for cut stumps), in part because it targets grasses. “Grasses are what we want to promote,” he said, again noting the benefits of native species.

The vegetation control program begins with mowing, after which workers identify which species to remove and which to keep, and conduct hand-pruning.

A separate tree-trimming program is already underway in Oak Bluffs along New York and Circuit avenues and in the Tabernacle area, with Chilmark and Aquinnah next in line. Mr. Durand said the company hopes to get to Chilmark and Aquinnah sooner than later, since both towns were hard-hit in recent winter storms.

He said fallen trees and branches are the number one cause of power outages, even in clear weather, noting that the Cape and Islands are among the company’s most storm-vulnerable areas. The region has also suffered from an infestation of gall wasps, leading to more tree removals in recent years.

Eversource tagged more than 800 trees in Edgartown, West Tisbury, Chilmark and Aquinnah last year, saying that many of them had gall wasp damage. But in Chilmark, town selectmen, among others, questioned whether all the trees should come down. In a letter to Eversource last summer, executive secretary Tim Carroll noted that the removal of trees along public ways was regulated by state and local laws. Property owners must also grant permission before their trees are removed.

Mr. Durand said this week that he was unaware of any Island complaints, and that several hundred trees on the Island are still tagged for removal, mostly as a result of gall wasp damage and last year’s drought.

He said Eversource will schedule the herbicide application following the public comment period and approval by the state Department of Agricultural Resources. The company must publish notice at least 48 hours before the application begins.

Public comments can be sent to William Hayes, senior transmission arborist, Eversource Energy, Eastern MA, Transmission Vegetation Management, 247 Station Drive, SE-370, Westwood, MA 02090-9230. Mr. Hayes can also be reached at 781-441-3932.

The article has been updated to provide correct contact information for public comments.