On a street near the college here in town grows a nice row of pine trees. They are stately, tall and full. The sidewalk has heavy pedestrian traffic. At a given time one might see an elderly couple with canes, youthful joggers, excited coeds, or mothers with strollers. The street leads to a little shopping center with two cafes and an independent book store. It used to be a nice street.
I use the past tense, because the street is no longer so nice. It has become an eyesore and a blight on the community.
Here are the pine trees taken from a college parking lot
They grow up to the sky healthy and vigorous
They are lovely to see
(on this side)
The following photographs are the same trees taken from the other side. The street side. The busy sidewalk side.
Every single branch has been sheared at the trunk on this side. The trees themselves look sad.
It looks no better coming from the opposite direction
The once lovely street now a disaster area
So what happened to the trees? Duke Energies did some "pruning." According to Duke, they have trimming experts who carefully consider how to best prune the trees in the least offensive manner and with the least damage to the trees. They no longer perform "round-over" pruning because it is not healthy for the trees. "Directional" pruning causes minimal impact on the tree.
Duke Energies is the largest power company in the United States. They already have free-rein to pollute our NC rivers (check this article) with the blessings of our governor, a former Duke executive. The governor has appointed several Duke retirees to State oversight committees. (You can google "NC coal ash spills and find lots of information)
But this post is about the trees. Why such seemingly excessive pruning on perfectly healthy trees? I have no idea. The branches were not so large that they would have brought down a power line even if they had fallen directly on it. And none of the branches were weak or rotting.
So I'm left with this answer. They can do it because they are so big and powerful and they will say they are doing it for the good of the public. Nonsense. They can do it because it saves them money, never mind what it does to the esthetics or health of the trees. And what can we do about it? Absolutely nothing except lament the loss of a beautiful street. And perhaps pay closer attention to the people we elect to government offices.