Everyone knows what to do when the power goes out. You have to go get out the candles, bring out the blankets, refrain from opening the refrigerator unless you absolutely have to, etc. While everyone knows what to do, it’s not always the most fun process. You can’t do the things that you have become so accustomed to do all the time; no TV, no computer, none of those things. While some power outages are unpreventable, many of them can be prevented with proper cautionary steps.
Tree Trimming Saves the DayTrees that are too close to power lines are the most frequent cause of power outages. During a time of severe weather, these outages occur all too often due to trees interfering with power lines. In order to avoid these power outages or reduce the frequency in which they occur, it’s important to trim trees near power lines. Tree trimming is much easier when done in prevention rather than waiting until it becomes a problem and has already fallen on a power line. After it touches the power line, you won’t want to touch the tree yourself and the power will have to be switched off before the tree can be removed.
If you live near a power line and a tree from your property is potentially dangerous to damaging the power lines, then you will want to trim it as soon as possible. Trees cause the majority of outages, so any trees that you can be trimmed before they cause a problem will save you time and heartache later.
If Possible, Trim When It’s WarmIt is best to trim trees as soon as you see them looking ominous and about to cause a power outage. However, it’s much better to trim your trees during the warm months of the year. Not only is it more comfortable when you trim your tree outside, but it is also better for the tree. If you cut a tree limb off when it is really cold and dry outside, it can have a negative impact on the whole tree. The cold dry weather can potentially dry out a cut limb and harm the tree.
When to Remove a TreeSometimes you also must remove a whole tree that is growing too close to power lines. This could be the case if the tree is dead, rotting or has too short of a root system that won’t hold up in strong rain or wind. In the winter it can be a little bit harder to determine if your tree is dead or if it is just dormant. One of the best ways to tell if your tree is dying is to look at the base of the trunk. If you see any carpenter ants or mushrooms growing, this probably means that some of the wood is decaying and your tree is either dying or dead.
Take Advantage of SpringThe best time to look for limbs to be trimmed or tell if your tree is dying is during the spring when all the leaves grow back. This way you can spot the limbs without leaves and know which ones to trim. As a rule of thumb, if more than 1/3 of the total limbs don’t have leaves on them, the whole tree might be dying. If you are not sure you might need to call a professional to come take a look and decide for sure whether or not the tree needs to be removed, especially if the tree is too close to a power line.
But remember accidents will still happen, and tree trimming doesn’t completely guarantee you won’t have a power outage. It will just lessen the chances!
Stewart Scott is the owner of Cevet Tree Care, a tree trimming company located in and serving Columbia, Mo.