Trees & Power Lines Don't Mix
Reliable electric service is a necessity in our daily lives - and can be critical in emergency situations. Unfortunately, trees and reliable electric service are not always compatible.
To manage the coexistence of trees and reliable electricity, Cuivre River has developed a right-of-way maintenance program focused on electric safety and reliability, and a tree management program founded on sound environmental and tree care practices. The result: fewer hazards, fewer power outages and healthy trees.
Here are key elements of the programs that make this possible.
Clearance Standards: Many species of trees can grow 15 feet or more in a five-year period. Cuivre River’s right-of-way maintenance program strives to remove or prune trees every five years to obtain a 30-foot wide path on the right of way below nearly 3,000 miles of overhead power lines.
Pruning Standards: To keep trees healthy, Cuivre River uses specialists trained according to the most up-to-date tree care standards.
Pruning cuts are made at a branch fork that allows cuts to callus over quickly with new bark. This greatly reduces the risk of insect or disease damage and minimizes branch regrowth into the power lines.
Tree removal: Right-of-way tree removal is a critical component of safety and reliability. During extreme weather events trees fall on power lines, causing outages and very hazardous conditions.
Tree limbs growing close to power lines can even be hazardous on days with modest winds. When branches touch power lines, they can carry electric current to people and animals that contact the tree. This contact can be fatal.
Member Notification: To maintain reliable and safe electric lines, permission to prune is not required. However, during routine maintenance a courtesy postcard will be mailed to your home, or a Cuivre River representative will leave a door hanger. Large trees growing very near or under a power line should be removed. Trees and bushes which restrict access to utility poles should also be removed. If possible, a Cuivre River representative will notify you before removing a yard tree or previously trimmed tree, unless we encounter a dangerous or emergency situation.
Community Service: We value partnerships with communities we serve. That’s why we work hard to communicate our Tree Management practices to schools, homeowner groups and individuals, and to support school and community Arbor Day and tree projects.
Right Tree, Right Place: Every species of tree has different height, width and overall spacing needs. When you plant a tree, choose the right tree for the right place. Carefully match your tree selection with site conditions and desired functions. Consider its proximity to other trees, buildings and utilities (above and below), shade, screen, wildlife cover, etc.
The Missouri Department of Conservation suggests there are no "perfect" or "universal" trees. Characteristics that make a tree very desirable for one location could make it unsuitable for another. Many tree problems are the result of improper location or poor species selection for the planting site.
Trees are a long-term investment. The Missouri Department of Conservation and Arbor Day Foundation can recommend tree species to fit your needs. Finding the correct tree for any given spot will help you avoid problems in the future.
The illustration at the left is also a useful guide to begin this process. It can help you identify the proper places for planting trees around your home for electric safety, service reliability, plant viability and long- term environmental benefits. Plan ahead and "plant the right tree in the right place."
Learn more at http://mdc.mo.gov or www.arborday.org.
Tree & Power Line Services: The right-of-way ecosystem is important to Cuivre River Electric Cooperative. Our tree management program is founded on sound environmental and tree care practices. For more information, please contact one of our offices by phone or in person, or contact Scott Skopec, CREC Supervisor of Right of Way Maintenance, firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-800-392-3709.
Tree Line USA®: The Tree Line USA® program is sponsored by The Arbor Day Foundation™ in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and recognizes public and private utilities across the nation that demonstrate practices that protect and enhance America's urban forests.
What is Tree Topping?: The Missouri Community Forestry Council defines tree topping as the drastic removal, or cutting back, of large branches in mature trees. This practice leaves large open wounds which subject the tree to disease and decay. Topping causes immediate injury to the tree and can ultimately result in early death of the tree.
At CREC, we agree with experts who oppose Tree Topping. Our goal is to cut and trim only the trees necessary to maintain reliable service for all our members and to use methods that preserve the health of the trees.