Williamsport resident unhappy with trimming of trees near power lines

July 03, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

WILLIAMSPORT -- Randy Breeden said Wednesday he thinks two of his trees were "butchered."

But Allegheny Power, in the interest of public safety, routinely trims trees that have branches growing near power lines, a company spokesman said Wednesday.

Breeden, who lives in the 10000 block of Bower Avenue, said the trimming never has been a problem because in the past, only a small portion was taken off the top of the tree.

Had he known the extent to which the trees were to be cut, Breeden said he would have hired his own tree-trimming service.


Two trees on his property - a large maple and a flowering Bradford pear tree - were cut, Breeden said. Some birds' nests were lost during the trimming, their eggs scattered on the ground, and birdhouses were pulled out of the ground, he said.

"I don't feel they should treat someone's property that way," he said.

Breeden said he was concerned that other people's property would be treated the same way.

"I call it inexcusable," he said.

Breeden said he counted at least six affected trees in the area of Bower Avenue and Lombard Street. On Wednesday morning, small tree branches littered Bower Avenue.

Damage from trees is a leading cause of power outages, Allegheny Power spokesman Todd Meyers said. Trimming trees to allow for more clearance around the lines helps cut down on the risk of power outages from downed limbs, he said.

In Western Maryland, the company is on a four-year cycle for trimming trees, so branches have to be cut back far enough to keep them away from power lines for about four years, Meyers said.

Although the trimming might look a little harsh, the cuts were deliberate, Meyers said. The technique is called "directional pruning" and encourages the branches to grow away from the lines, he said.

Arborists are trained to trim in a way that is best for the tree so it can rebound, Meyers said. Anyone who deals with trees in and around the power lines must be a line clearance-certified arborist, he said.

Asplundh, based out of Willow Grove, Pa., is responsible for trimming trees throughout Allegheny Power's territory, Meyers said.

For more information

Allegheny Power offers a tree removal/replacement program.

Customers may call 1-800-255-3443 if they would like more information about having a large tree growing near power lines removed.

Allegheny Power can remove the tree and offers a voucher, good at many area nurseries, for a smaller, replacement tree.

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