PROSSER, Wash. –
The last few months of decent weather are here and it is a good time to start wrapping up outside yard projects before the snow comes. Tree pruning and trimming is important this time of year to keep large branches from snapping off in strong winds and heavy snow during the winter.
Brian Cramer, the Utility Tree Coordinator for Benton PUD says, “When the trees are close to those lines the first thing I would recommend is don’t touch the trees or touch the wires, and call your local utility department.”
Cramer tells me the trees could rub against the secondary power lines that connect to your house from the transformers on the power poles causing them to break and cause a power outage.
JT Finn, a Foreman with American Tree Trimmers in Prosser tells me the homeowner they were cutting for was worried about his trees resting on the roof and the powerlines.
The homeowner tells me he was scared of the branches knocking out the weather head on his house.
“This tree hung over this house all the way down to the weather head and especially with the power right there, you get a lot of snowfall on that, it could break,” says Finn. “That’s why we’re here thinning them out so the wind can blow through the trees and the branches don’t hold as much snow.”
Finn tells me if the branches come down and hit a power line it could start a house fire.
This homeowner hired a crew to trim the trees, but Finn says you can do it yourself at home.
“If you have the right tools and you’re using the proper safety gear like safety glasses, gloves, ear plugs and a hard hat if you’re cutting over head,” says Finn. “If you can’t reach it from a ladder and it’s bigger than three inches, give us a call we’ll come out and give you a free estimate.”
Cramer says if you call to let the utility company know you’re trimming branches back from the power lines, they will send someone out to assess the trees, turn the power off while you cut the branches so there is no electrical hazards.
Severe weather can sometimes uproot your trees or tear down branches that takes out power lines, but Cramer says that doesn’t cost the homeowner a penny.
“The only reason we might send someone a bill is if it’s a lumberjack trying to cut down their own tree and they do something negligent,” says Cramer.
Cramer says you can plant “power line friendly trees” that only grow 25-feet tall while the power lines are 35-feet above the ground. He mentions that you should call 8-1-1 before you do any digging or planting.
Finn says the best time to trim certain trees is in the next couple months while the weather is cooler and the heat won’t fry the exposed ends of some Birch and Arborvitae trees.