Why We Trim Trees
Trees planted under or near power lines are a potentially dangerous hazard. Serious or fatal shocks can occur when working near or playing in trees near power lines. When trees grow close to and into the lines, there is a possibility of someone climbing a tree and making contact with an energized line. The lines are just as dangerous if touched by someone climbing in a tree as they would be if touched by someone standing on the ground.
Furthermore, trees can affect the reliability of your power in a number of different ways. Fallen trees can interrupt power to many customers. Trees that branch into our electrical lines can cause momentary short circuits (flickering lights) or major outages when combined with thunderstorms, high winds, or sleet and snow.
Which Trees We Trim/Remove
Carroll White REMC trims trees as part of our on-going maintenance program. We trim away branches growing through or around our lines. We also remove branches growing above lines, where snow or ice could cause branches to sag or fall onto live lines.
The amount of pruning necessary varies depending on the type of tree, how often the tree is pruned, and the type of power line.
- Tree care industry standards recommend removing branches that grow toward the lines, reducing the amount of pruning needed in the future.
- Some trees grow many feet per year, and will quickly grow back into the lines unless they are adequately pruned.
- Tall growing trees directly beneath power lines may require extensive pruning, including the removal of the main leader.
Topping (stubbing and rounding over) is bad for trees, and often causes rapid growth back toward the power lines. Generally, we only prune the part of the tree that could affect the lines. This allows the rest of the tree to naturally grow away from the power lines.
It is also sometimes necessary to target entire trees. These include trees that are weak, diseased, drying or severely damaged. It may also include trees that would have to be trimmed so much that they would not survive or would be very unsightly.
How We Trim Trees
Carroll White REMC hires professional tree-trimming contractors that specialize in this type of work. When we trim or remove a tree, we clean up the area and haul away the brush. Logs too large to be mulched and hauled away (usually 6 inches in diameter and larger) are cut into more manageable lengths and left on site for the property owner’s disposal. When storms knock trees into our lines, we do not clean up or remove debris left behind.
Before You Plant
You can assist us in this effort by planting trees in the right location. By following a few basic guidelines you can add value to your home without causing unnecessary power outages.
A few tips to consider prior to planting trees:
- Before you dig, call 811 to locate any underground power lines
- Deciduous (leaf dropping) trees should be planted on the south and west sides of your home to cool in summer and allow sun to enter the house in the winter
- Evergreen trees should be planted on the north of your home to serve as a windbreak against cold northern winds
- Trees planted within 15 feet of electric lines should be no more than 20 feet tall when fully grown
- Trees planted within 15 to 30 feet of electrical lines should be no more than 30 feet tall when fully grown.