Cuivre River's right-of-way maintenance program focuses on electric safety, reliability, and a tree management program founded on sound environmental and tree care practices. The goal: fewer hazards, fewer power outages, and healthier trees.


Key program elements include:

Clearance Standards: Many species of trees can grow 15 ft. or more in just a few years. Cuivre River strives to remove or prune trees in a timely manner to obtain a 30 ft. wide right-of-way path below nearly 3,000 miles of overhead power lines.


Pruning Standards: To maintain tree health, Cuivre River uses specialists trained in up-to-date tree care standards. To reduce the risk of insect or disease damage and minimize branch regrowth into power lines, pruning cuts are made at a branch fork that allows cuts to callus over quickly with new bark.


Tree Removal: Right-of-way tree removal is a critical component of safety and reliability. During extreme weather events trees may fall on power lines, causing outages and very hazardous conditions.


Tree limbs close to power lines can even be hazardous on days with modest winds. When branches touch power lines, the tree can carry potentially fatal electric current to people and animals that contact the tree.


Member Notification: To maintain electric safety and reliability, 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 card. Large trees growing near or under power lines should be removed. Trees and bushes which restrict access to utility poles should also be removed. Unless we encounter a dangerous or emergency situation, a representative will notify you when possible before removing a yard tree or previously trimmed tree.


Community Service: We value community partnerships and work to communicate our tree management practices to schools, homeowners' groups and individuals, and support school and community Arbor Day projects and events.


Right Tree, Right Place: Every tree species has different height, width and spacing needs. When you plant a tree, choose the right tree for the right place and purpose. Carefully match your tree choice with site conditions and desired functions. Consider its proximity to other trees, buildings and utilities (above and below ground), shade, screen, wildlife cover, etc.


The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) suggests there are no "perfect" or "universal" trees. Problems can result from improper tree location or unwise tree species selection for the site. A tree desirable for one location could be unsuitable for another.


Long-Term Benefits: The Arbor Day Foundation and MDC can recommend tree species to fit your needs. Trees are a long-term investment. Finding the correct tree for any given spot will help avoid electric hazards and future problems.


The Tree Planting Guide above can help you determine appropriate tree sizes and placement for electric safety and reliability, plant viability and long-term environmental benefits. Plan ahead and "plant the right tree in the right place."


To learn about tree care practices and species visit www.arborday.org.


Shade Trees Can Help Reduce Energy Use

By Scott Skopec, Superintendent, Right-of-Way Maintenance


The cost of almost everything we do today is going up. This includes the energy we use. Can we reduce these costs in some way and help our lives become a little more green and beautiful?


The answer is "Yes." There are many ways we can accomplish this in our homes and in our lives. As summer approaches, consider natural ways to stay cool and keep your home cool.


Last summer my family and I went to Six Flags on a very hot day. The crowds of people, heat-absorbing pavement and the sun in our faces made the day seem even hotter. We brought a picnic lunch to eat outside that day, and found ourselves in search of a cool spot.


Six Flags has shade trees in and around the parking lot, on tree islands. The coolest place we found for our picnic lunch was under a tree in the parking lot. Many people were doing the same thing — it was hard to fit everyone under the shade tree. I'm not sure what the temperature difference was between the sun and the shade that day, but it sure was a lot cooler under that tree. We need to think of our homes in the same way. To reduce energy use, find ways to use shade to keep you and your home as cool as possible.


Every home and yard is unique. With that being said, we each need to do a little planning and research before we purchase trees and plants if we want to achieve the maximum cooling benefit and avoid other problems. Planting trees and shrubs in the wrong place can cause headaches and be costly down the road.


Proper Places For Trees Around Homes.


For example, you don’t want to plant trees under power lines or too close to your house. Poor tree choices and lack of planning may cause you to lose your tree or may damage your home. Think of how tall trees will grow when you choose the tree and its location.


You'll also want to choose trees and shrubs that grow well in our region, to make certain they can thrive. To learn the type of trees that grow well in our hardiness zone, check with the Arbor Day Foundation. Visit www.arborday.org.


When you plant the right tree in the right place and choose the right landscaping materials, you add value to your home and invest in long-term energy savings. By planning and planting the correct plants we can each make a difference, saving energy and contributing to a "greener" life in many ways.


Consider these statistics about the capacity of shade trees:


  • “The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.” — U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • “Landscaping can reduce air conditioning cost by up to 50% by shading the windows and the walls of a home.”— American Public Power Association
  • “If you plant a tree today on the west side of your home, in 5 years your energy use should be 3% less. In 15 years the savings will be nearly 12%.” — Dr. E. Greg McPherson, Center for Urban Forest Research
  • “Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30% and can save 20-50% in energy used for heating.” — USDA Forest Service
  • “In laboratory research, visual exposure to a setting with trees has produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes, as indicated by changes in blood pressure and muscle tension.” — Dr. Roger S. Ulrich, Texas A&M University


Shade from trees improves our comfort, can reduce air conditioning use and the summer peak demand for energy. This reduces the pressure on the resources we use to produce electricity.


Planting and landscaping away from overhead power lines and underground utilities can also improve public safety and prevent the unintended disruption of utility services. And for safety's sake, before you plant, call 1-800-DIG-RITE or 8-1-1.


Scott Skopec is the Superintendent of Right-of-Way Maintenance. He is instrumental in helping the cooperative earn the Arbor Day Foundation's "Tree Line USA" designation each year. To inquire about tree education and right-of-way maintenance contact Skopec at (800) 392-3709, ext. 4847.


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 Cuivre River Electric Cooperative, 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.


The Arbor Day Foundation has named Cuivre River Electric Cooperative a "Tree Line USA Utility" for the 14th year in row. Tree Line USA is a national program that recognizes public and private utilities for pursuing practices that protect and enhance America's urban trees. As a partnership between the Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters, Tree Line USA promotes delivering safe and reliable electricity while maintaining healthy community forests.


Cuivre River Electric achieved the designation by meeting five core requirements: (1) following industry standards for quality tree care, (2) providing annual employee training in best tree-care practices, (3) sponsoring a tree-planting and public education program, (4) maintaining a tree-based energy conservation program, and (5) participating in an Arbor Day celebration.


For more information visit www.arborday.org/TreeLineUSA.


The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education organization of one million members. Its mission is to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. More information on the Foundation and its programs can be found at www.arborday.org.