Ideas for saving a Norway spruce from the power company?

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PAwildernessadvocate
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Ideas for saving a Norway spruce from the power company?

Post by PAwildernessadvocate » Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:38 pm

My mom has two relatively large Norway spruce trees growing in her front yard near the road. They are on her property and not in the road right-of-way though -- they are her trees. She has lived there since 2004.

The power line for the house leads from the utility pole directly past one of the Norway spruce trees. Over the years I have carefully kept branches from the tree pruned back well away from the power line, without dramatically hacking away the crown of the tree in an overkill fashion. This year however, the trunk of the tree itself has finally grown large enough in diameter that it is now making contact with the power line.

Does anyone know of a way for the power company to alter the path of the power line (short of installing a whole new utility pole) so that it no longer touches the tree? Is there anything like a one or two foot extension or arm that can be installed on the pole that will slightly redirect the line and open up another good foot or so of space between the trunk of the tree and the power line? Another idea I think I've seen is where a utility company will install a large-diameter plastic (PVC?) sleeve on the power line itself where it is making contact with a tree in order to prevent the tree from growing live tissue around the line.

The idea here is to prevent the power company from coming in and simply cutting the whole tree down, or hacking off the top half of it (making it look ridiculous), both of which I've seen utility companies do presumably as an easy (but in my opinion lazy) solution to problem like this.

Thanks for any ideas!
"There is no better way to save biodiversity than by preserving habitat, and no better habitat, species for species, than wilderness." --Edward O. Wilson

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jamesrobertsmith
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Re: Ideas for saving a Norway spruce from the power company?

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:58 pm

Tread lightly. As soon as you get in touch with the power company, it will raise alarms with them and they will likely fall upon their first option: cut down the tree.

That said, I don't know of many more options other than very careful diplomacy, explaining that the trees are important to the property owner and that the life and physical integrity of the trees needs to be preserved.

There is also the very expensive and highly radical solution of going off the grid. (You did ask for suggestions...so that's one that's way out there, I know.) I spoke to a guy once who decided to go off the grid and he had the power company come out and disconnect his house (he didn't, at that time, even want to sell power back to them) and also had them remove their pole from the corner of his property. How he achieved the latter, I don't know. I didn't think to ask him.

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Will Blozan
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Re: Ideas for saving a Norway spruce from the power company?

Post by Will Blozan » Sun Aug 19, 2012 7:06 pm

If the line is a house drop they typically won't deal with it- it is up to you. I would try a sleeve installed by someone skilled (or stupid enough) to work with powerlines.

Will

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Re: Ideas for saving a Norway spruce from the power company?

Post by TN_Tree_Man » Mon Aug 20, 2012 3:26 pm

Does anyone know of a way for the power company to alter the path of the power line (short of installing a whole new utility pole) so that it no longer touches the tree? Is there anything like a one or two foot extension or arm that can be installed on the pole that will slightly redirect the line and open up another good foot or so of space between the trunk of the tree and the power line? Another idea I think I've seen is where a utility company will install a large-diameter plastic (PVC?) sleeve on the power line itself where it is making contact with a tree in order to prevent the tree from growing live tissue around the line.
Assuming that the wire is the house service wire, you have a couple of options with the local power company for consideration:

(1) You can bury the service wire from the transformer pole to the house thereby removing the need for future tree trimming as well as potential service interruptions. Just be sure that you bore the hole for the conduit and power line under the root zone rather than simply dig a trench so you will not damage or kill the tree.

(2) You can request that the utility relocate the service wire away from the tree. Keep in mind that Norway spruce will get very large so allow plenty of open space for relocated power line.

Contact the Engineering Department of the power utility for options and prices. Usually the power company will provide these services. You will probably have to pay the costs for either option.

Those "sleeves" that you may see are insulated, usually made of rubber, designed for a temporary safe guard and are not considered long term solutions. I would recommend against having someone install a "sleeve" on the service wire. Chances are high that serious injury or death could occur if someone not properly trained to work around high voltage power lines attempts to install something, and the utility will probably not allow it anyway.

I hope that this helps.

Steve Springer
"One can always identify a dogwood tree by it's bark."

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Re: Ideas for saving a Norway spruce from the power company?

Post by PAwildernessadvocate » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:18 am

TN_Tree_Man wrote:(2) You can request that the utility relocate the service wire away from the tree. Keep in mind that Norway spruce will get very large so allow plenty of open space for relocated power line.

Contact the Engineering Department of the power utility for options and prices. Usually the power company will provide these services. You will probably have to pay the costs for either option.

Thanks for the feedback everybody. The above I think is the ideal solution for this situation (second only to going off the grid altogether!). But how do you redirect the wire away from the tree? In my mind I am envisioning some kind of extension or arm attached to the utility pole that pushes the line perhaps two feet or even more away from the pole, thereby opening up more space between the line and the bole of the tree. What would such an arm or mechanism be called, if it exists? Even if it buys only ten or fifteen years worth of growth by the tree I think it would be worth it.

Thanks again everyone for your input.
"There is no better way to save biodiversity than by preserving habitat, and no better habitat, species for species, than wilderness." --Edward O. Wilson

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