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Vol. 67 Number 1


News orthwestern Electric November 2015 Directional pruning promotes better tree health W


hen Alfred Joyce Kilmer wrote “I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree,” he was probably trying to tell an electric utility worker he didn’t want his trees trimmed or removed. And contrary to popular belief, electric utility workers like trees as much as Mr. Kilmer—unless they are growing under or too close to a power line. Nearly one-third of power outages can be traced to tree interference. Dur- ing windy and stormy weather, swaying and broken tree limbs can cause blinks,  Northwestern Electric’s lines and poles are engineered to withstand many forces of Mother Nature. However, they may not withstand the force of a fallen tree or large branch. Trees touching power lines can actually drain electricity off the system, and in severe cases can cause line-protection devices to take a circuit out of service. Voltage dips caused when trees contact a power line can damage appliances and sensi- tive equipment.


Our right-of-way maintenance pro- gram—including tree trimming—is an important aspect of our goal to deliver power to you that is safe, reliable, en- vironmentally responsible and afford-


able. In fact, it can help reduce outages caused by branches falling on lines during storms, shrubbery interfering with voltage levels or weeds in right-of- way areas making access to equipment  Trees growing too close to power lines also present a danger to the


According to Dr. Alex Shigo, world renowned scientist and author on the subject of arboriculture (trees), topping is the most serious  percent of the leaf-bearing crown of a tree. Because leaves are the food factories of a tree, removing them can temporarily starve a tree. The severity of the pruning triggers a sort of survival mechanism. The tree activates latent buds, forcing the rapid growth of multiple shoots below each cut. The tree needs to put out a new crop of leaves as soon as possible. If a tree does not have the stored energy reserves to do so, it will be seriously weakened and may die.


Inside


Holiday closing.............2 Thank a vet....................3 Recipe............................3 Winter survival kit.........4 Rebate program............4


Proper line clearance pruning can look severe but it is the best method to help promote a healthy tree.


linemen and the public—especially children who like to climb trees. Northwestern Electric adheres to the National Electric Safety Code which requires electric utilities to prune tree limbs at least 10 feet away from power lines and electrical equipment. Although most people understand why we need to trim trees close to power lines, they often question our tree pruning methods. Correct line clearance pruning can look quite severe. Our tree trimming crew no longer uses the misguided practice of topping trees. Tree topping, or “round-over” pruning, may be the most pleasing to the eye, but it is the most harmful to the health of the tree. Ironically, many people top their trees because they think it will make them safer. Instead, topping creates hazardous trees. Along with promoting Continued on page 2.


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