Look What They Did to our Trees!

I call it the annual “Raping of the Trees.” Here’s what it looks like:

What happens is some tree service — probably under contract with a utility company — arrives at your neighborhood early in the morning and starts “trimming” the branches from trees located beneath or near power lines. The service stays all day, hacking off branches and grinding them up, then moves to the next site.

I understand the reasoning behind this — eliminate anything that could possibly interfere with the operation of utilities, thereby saving crews the headache (and danger) of having to make repairs during stormy weather.

But the tree service obviously doesn’t have a designer on staff. I mean, look at the mess they made of these once-lovely trees:

And this one:

Limbs have been chopped off at random, without regard for the tree’s former symmetry. Gaping holes remain where thick, leafy branches used to shade yards. Skeletal sticks poke their spindly fingers up to the sky.

If the tree was in the way, why didn’t they just chop it down, rather than gouging its branches out?

Trees are living, breathing creations, many of which were lovingly planted and tended by someone from a past generation. Their arms cradle birds’ nests, provide shelter for squirrels, and offer a spectacular show in spring and fall. They shade pedestrians and parked cars while increasing property values.  Trees absorb carbon dioxide and pollutants while giving off oxygen.

We need trees. Our communities are kinder, friendlier when we have trees around. And I suspect many of these trees were there before the utility lines were even put up.

So while it’s bad enough this “Raping of the Trees” takes place during good weather, I find it reprehensible for it to happen this year.

When the trees are already stressed out by the heat. And the drought.

I don’t look for fall to be its customary colorful self, nor can I see these spindly specters withstanding the ravages of winter.

They can blame that on the weather all they like. But I think the “Raping of the Trees” will be a contributing factor.

Do they do this in your neck of the woods?

19 thoughts on “Look What They Did to our Trees!

  1. They do that here, but I don’t think I’ve seen anything like those pictures. After our most recent outage, many folks have a new appreciation for it. There’s also a big push for underground power lines.

    • Mother Nature has her way of pruning dead branches, but removing live branches — especially just hacking off the ones “in the way” — seems heartless to me.

    • You’re right, of course. We need electricity, but I wish somebody had thought far enough ahead to put it underground! Better to remove the “offending trees” than to scalp them this way — and then plant new ones away from the lines!

  2. They are much kinder and gentler in our neighborhood. I think this is partly because we have really complained and made our outraged heard. We were not only sad, we were ANGRY. I’m sure “tree hugger” is listed next to my name at Utility board. Environmentally trees offer a community a whole lot of benefits that should be recognized. Trees can be trimmed properly with a little know how and without taking a whole lot more time. I would suggest sending your pictures to the utility board and asking neighbors to complained. It worked in Chicago.

    • Thanks, Katybeth. Nice to find another “tree hugger”! They started this a few years ago but back then, they were a bit more judicious with it. Now they’re just hacking away like a bull running through a china shop. Protesting might be the only way to make them see reason — thanks for the nudge!

  3. Wow, this looks like some of the hairstyles I saw in the eighties (asymmetrical and generally ridiculous). That last one takes the cake, though. They take the middle of the tree out and leave the sides? I think the city needs to find a new contractor.

    • Not only do they take out the middle and leave the sides — I’ve also seen some where they lop off a chunk from the top and leave the bottom. Do they think that’s going to solve the problem? Wouldn’t it be easier to remove the entire tree rather than expose it to the ridicule of other trees??!

  4. Oh, my. That’s some really bad tree pruning. I found you over at Le Hipster’s, and came to see who her namesake was. I’m glad I did, because I can share with you our town’s tree story, which I still can’t quite get over. The town came together and saved a rare oak – you can see it here. It helps to balance all the bad stuff that happens to trees.

    It might be of interest to you – they did some serious pruning on our tree before they moved it. It’s pretty good evidence that pruning can be done without it looking like an ax murderer got loose!

    • How delightful to meet you, Linda — thanks for taking time to read my story and link to what can (should!) happen instead! What a wonderful story of how townspeople came together to save a mature tree. I find it sad that we all just sat back and let it happen to our trees, especially since they’re already suffering from the weather. You’re right, it does look like an ax murderer got hold of them!

  5. Oh Debbie, I love trees and I can almost hear them groaning from all that pruning. I think this is done everywhere for the sake of the power lines,etc. I will add that last Aug when a tornado touched down in our area along the Mohawk River, it left a swath of devastation-downing many of the beautiful trees that lined the road and hills overlooking the river. When I drive by, I swear I can feel their pain.

    • Tornadoes, hurricanes, and other fierce storms really wreak havoc on trees, don’t they? I, too, can feel their pain — it’s nice to hear from another “tree hugger”! You’d think somebody by now would have figured out a better way of pruning, though, instead of this reckless hacking away!

    • Barb, when I hear the saws and the chippers, I just cringe, knowing what they’re doing. My head understands the necessity, but oh, how I hate seeing the results!

  6. This type of tree trimming or pruning happens all the time. I have seen much worse in Encinitas Ca. ( North San Diego) Yes, there is a better way to prune trees. If the utility company warns you ahead, then you could get an arborist who might take a different aproach. However, those trees seem too close to those powerlines.

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