The Borough recently had discussions with PPL in regards to our concerns with cutting a "V" shape in the middle of trees that are planted under power lines. The concern was that there must be a better way to trim a tree because we feel that the "V" is not only an ugly look, but it makes the tree grow outward instead of upward, ultimately causing branches to break and fall.
However, PPL representatives informed Borough officials as to why the company practices this method rather than topping the tree. Below is a release by Ms. Teri MacBride, PPL Electric Utilities spokewoman, regarding this matter.
Tree-trimming helps prevent power outages
Planting smart around power lines reduces chance of problems
Trees improve the environment and add beauty to our communities. But when taller trees are allowed to grow close to power lines, they can cause outages and create potential safety hazards.
To lessen the likelihood of problems, PPL Electric Utilities trims along more than 5,500 miles of power lines each year. That’s enough to stretch from New York to Los Angeles and back.
“We prune trees to keep them clear of power lines and maintain reliable service for those who count on us,” said Teri MacBride, PPL Electric Utilities spokeswoman in the Berwick area. “We take great care to protect the health of the trees we prune, and skilled PPL foresters employ practices recommended by industry experts.”
The company uses tree-pruning practices and standards accepted by the National Arbor Day Foundation and other tree-care groups. This practice removes only branches growing toward power lines. These branches are pruned back to the main trunk or another large branch. Remaining branches are left to grow naturally.
Fewer cuts mean healthier and stronger trees, although trees that are growing directly under or beside power lines may have a “V” or “L” shape when you look directly down the line.
“Our preference is not to trim trees,” MacBride said. “Municipalities and property owners can help by picking the right tree for the right place. Planting low-growing tree species near power lines helps us keep the lights on, makes properties safer, reduces tree-trimming expenses for everyone and ensures that the trees will be able to mature into their natural shape.”
MacBride encourages property owners to avoid planting trees near very large power lines (those with steel poles and towers). These lines are vital links in the delivery system, carry large amounts of power and require big clearances.
She said customers who are planting near smaller, neighborhood power lines should take care to pick the right tree for the right place, considering how the tree will look — height and spread — when it’s fully grown and selecting trees that will not grow taller than 25 feet. She said varieties like dogwoods, plums, crab apples and redbuds are appropriate. More information on selecting the right tree can be found at www.isa-arbor.com
MacBride said PPL Electric Utilities does not prune or remove trees around the service wire that runs from poles to homes or businesses. However, she said the company will shut off power and lower the wire to the ground so customers can do the job safely. This service is free. Customers should call PPL Electric Utilities at 1-800-342-5775 at least three days in advance.