5 Ways To Manage Trees Around Powerlines

Although shade trees are nice in the yard, they can pose a safety hazard if they are growing beneath powerlines. Trimming techniques can sometimes be used to save the tree, but in some cases removal is necessary.

1. Shape Young   

Shaping a tree beginning soon after planting is the next best thing to planting only low-growing trees beneath powerlines. If you already have a young tree beneath the power lines and moving it isn't an option, then annual pruning beginning when the tree is still lower than the powerlines can mitigate issues later. It's much easier to keep new growth pruned back without stressing the tree, compared to the stress of removing a lot of overgrowth from a mature tree.

2. Manage Height

There are a few ways to manage the height of your trees. If branches aren't yet tangled badly in the powerlines or are just beginning to reach into the lines, then reduction pruning is sufficient. Your tree service will trim back the branches that are in or near the powerlines, usually cutting back by no more than a third of the branch's length. This may be sufficient to keep the branches out of the lines if it is done every year in late winter or spring.

3. Trim Out Deadwood

Dead and badly damaged branches can be hazardous to powerlines even if the tree is not tall enough to be entangled in the lines. This is because wind can break and fling branches, blowing them into the nearby lines. A major prune in late winter and spring is needed to remove the deadwood before it is hidden by new leaves. You may also need pruning during the growing season if a branch dies back or becomes damaged. 

4. Prune Severely

Sometimes there is no choice but severe pruning. Large, mature trees that have already become badly entangled in the powerlines must be cut back as much as possible so that the lines are freed, otherwise, it's a major fire and electrical shock hazard. Your tree service will use directional pruning to complete this task. This method removes entire branches back to the trunk if those branches are forking into the lines above. The focus is on clearing the lines as opposed to maintaining the aesthetic value of the trees.

5. Remove the Tree 

Depending on the tree, removal may be the best and safest option. Choose removal if directional pruning will severely weaken the tree, or if there is doubt that the height can be kept reduced over the life of the tree. Overly tall trees can always be replaced with shorter understory trees or shrubs if removal ends up being the best option.

To find out more, contact a company like Allen's Tree Service, Inc.