Tree Trimming Safety
Trees growing near power lines can be a safety hazard and a major cause of power outages. With growth rates of 8 to 10 feet per year on some species, it’s a full-time job just staying ahead of annual growth. In 2015 CPI will have five utility line clearance tree trimming crews working full time in the following areas: Brewster Road, Brownsville, Mary’s River Rd. Summit, and Siletz/Kernville Highway. These professional tree workers will be cutting and pruning trees located in and along rights of way. If there are trees in the right of way you do not want cut down, please call to discuss your options. Limbs, brush and wood will be left on site. Cut stumps and brush will be treated with herbicide. A follow-up herbicide treatment may be necessary to control tall growing species. By controlling unwanted tall growing brush and tree species, plants conducive to wildlife can be encouraged to grow and keep the right of way accessible.
If you’re getting ready to plant trees, bushes or shrubs, please look up to see where overhead power lines may hinder their future growth. Call CPI’s right of way department for assistance on plant selection and placement. You can also find out more about J. Frank Schmidt UtiliTrees that are safe to plant in proximity to overhead power lines at http://www.jfschmidt.com/utilitrees/index.html. Remember that a two foot tall fir seedling can grow over 100 feet tall and 30–50 feet wide. The cost to maintain a tree like this for the duration of its life can be over $30,000. After you’ve looked up, remember to look down for underground utilities. So you know where these underground facilities are located, call 811 before you dig and have them located. Planting to cover underground facilities makes an underground outage last longer and is unsafe for workers. There are many ways to incorporate an underground transformer into the layout of your landscape plans. By proper species selection and placement you can live with that “green box” and help maintain electric reliability for you and your neighbors.
When is the last time you have walked the right of way on your property? Are all of the poles easily accessible? CPI can field check your situation, let you know when our regularly scheduled crews will be in the area, and make suggestions for clearing and maintaining the right of way on your property.
Safe logging saves lives!
Oregon’s Overhead Line Safety Act requires notification of the utility owner and that mutually satisfactory precautions are taken. If there are CPI power lines in proximity to your harvest area please call for a consultation. Slash should not be piled and burned in the right of way. When replanting, observe dedicated easements and right of way widths on the property. Don’t waste money planting in these areas as tall-growing species will be cut down in the next maintenance cycle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. The power lines near my house don’t seem to be anywhere near the trees, so why is CPI trimming and cutting trees?
A. There are three reasons for this. First, electric utilities are required to maintain the appropriate clearance between trees and power lines at all times. For example, in the summer, power lines sag as they expand, due to air temperature and heavy use. Clearances around the lines must account for this, as well as wind, which causes the lines to sway. So on a cool, still day, it may appear that there is ample, or even excessive, clearance that is needed for hot or windy day. Second, electric utilities prune or remove vegetation to a distance greater than the minimum clearances to account for future growth, movement of trees or power lines due to wind, conductor sag due to heat and line loading, and other factors. Thirdly it costs less to cut a large maturing tree down when it’s head high compared to 25 feet in height.
Q. Can I prune my own trees or hire a private tree care company?
A. Any tree pruning or cutting done around CPI power lines must be done by a line clearance qualified arborist as defined by the federal and state OSHA. It is illegal and unsafe for a non-qualified person to work near power lines. If your tree care company needs to work on trees that are closer than ten feet then call CPI to discuss your options. Options can include: dropping lines, making a tree safe or having a CPI contractor do the work.
Q. Why doesn’t CPI prune trees around my service drop?
A. The service drop that runs from the transformer on a pole into your residence is a low voltage conductor that has weatherproofing around the wire. This line is not insulated and can injure or kill someone who would cut into it. Only limbs that are rubbing on the service drop need to be pruned back. Dead overhanging limbs may also be pruned during maintenance tree trimming schedules.
Q. Why do you want to use herbicide on my property?
A. Herbicide is a valuable tool used to prevent resprouting of hardwood stumps. Herbicides are used by Certified Applicators licensed by the state and applied in strict accordance with label guidelines. Once a hardwood tree is cut it will sprout back with several new stems growing out of the original root system. If this stump is not prevented from resprouting then our next maintenance cycle workload will triple in volume. CPI also sprays black berries, scotch broom and brush to keep access open for inspection and outage restoration. If you would prefer that no herbicide be used on your property then please call to discuss your obligations and options.