Tress that Grow Under Power Lines

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Many moons ago we planted the first trees that we would try and sell. We planted them too close together and a few rows ended up being planted under some power lines along the road. We will never do that again. We were pretty optimistic about selling all these trees obviously. Well some sold and others did not. For several years they have been a maintenance problem for our power company.

I always rush out to the road when I hear the tree trimmers from the power company. Some of these guys do terrible work. In the words of one of the good guys I met out on the road several years ago, “There are trimmers and then there are cutters.” Cutters do just that, cut thoughtlessly. Trimmers have some appreciation for ascetics and want to leave their name on quality work at the end of the day.

I was relieved when I saw Steve Watson from NEREMC, our rural cooperative power company, when I rushed out to the road to meet whoever was going to cut on our trees this year. He has been a friend/customer for years. I knew he would do a good job with our trees. It was the first time I had met his co worker Mike Nichols, a certified arborist with the power company. We had a long talk about my priorities and their priorities before the cutting began. I cannot say enough about these two guys. They did a terrific job on our trees.

I know there is a crowd of folks that freak out every time a tree gets cut down. I am a card carrying member of that club. I also own four chainsaws. Sometimes you just have to cut. We cut some big Poplars with rotten trunks and a lot of Eastern White Pine down because they were either too close to the lines or under the lines which is probably worse.I am a firm believer that when you cut you must also plant. We have planted at least 5-6 trees if not more for every one that was cut. These trees make up the new 10 year old Joy Arboretum along Hartman Road on the North side of our property, which is a large sample of plants that could be planted underneath power lines without ever having the need to cut them down. These plants have replaced the plants that have been cut down.We are never shy to pat ourselves on the back. This is a testimony of how we actually run this business with what is commonly referred to as a “green” approach. I used to think green was a cool term. Anymore with all the big boys throwing the term about you have to wonder how green some of their products really are. Not that you cannot be a big company and be green. I am just the skeptical type I suppose.

Some of the trees we planted include the following, but are not limited to the trees listed below. Not all power lines are the same height above ground level. If you are using these suggestions to sight trees under power lines make sure you measure or have a good idea of how far above grade these lines are. Our power lines are 15-20’, above grade.

Betula nigra ‘Little King’, Dwarf River Birch, 12’-15’ tall at maturityPinus contorta ‘Chief Joseph’, Golden Lodgepole Pine, 12-15’ tall in 30-40 yearsAbies lasiocarpa arizonica ‘Glauca Nana’, Dwarf Blue Alpine Fir, 8-10’ in 25 yearsPicea abies ‘Clanbrasilliana Stricta’ Tolleymore Spruce, 8-10’ in 25 yearsHeptacodium miconoides, Seven Sons Tree, 15-20’ at maturityPinus parviflora ‘Bergmanii’, Bergman Japanese White Pine, 8-10’ in 20 yearsPicea pungens ‘Pendula’, Weeping Blue Spruce, 10-12’ in 20 yearsPicea abies ‘Pendula’, Weeping Norway Spruce 10-12’ in 20 years

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