Monday, March 30, 2015

Looking at Both Sides

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.


Tara said...

So incredibly stupid and ugly. Our local utility did some work on powerlines and in the process completely destroyed a native Plant garden the community volunteers had established. The community was outraged and eventually forced the utility company to fund the reestablishment of the garden. Score one for the people.

Cheryl said...

They do look is so sad to see such drastic measures for no obvious reasons.
I have seen similar happen here and it makes me so angry.
Perhaps Tara has the right protest.

Barbara Rogers said...

that's ugly and not even to protect anyone or anything, just ugly!

Arkansas Patti said...

Yes, that is really ugly, but as a former power company employee, I see why they did it. Just a branch touching the power lines causes interruptions and the ire of the customers on that feeder. Also if the tree touches the line, the tree becomes hot and dangerous. They can catch fire. Fast growing trees probably shouldn't have been planted there. My town did the same thing and planted fast growing trees on main street directly under the power lines. In about a year, they will have to be severely cut back as they will be right in the lines. I hate it but understand it.

NCmountainwoman said...

Patti - I agree the pines were not a good idea. But the branches did not spread out as far as the power lines so I do believe they could have pruned the longer ones without cutting everything down to the tree trunk.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I agree with you. I suppose the men that did it were just doing what they were told and I'm sure they didn't care what the end result was.

KB said...

I live in a pine forest, and there are power lines next to the trees all along the road. The power company comes through twice per year cutting back branches that might cause trouble.

I think that the Duke power company didn't want to have to pay to do "a little at a time" so they just cut off all the branches on one side of each tree. It's a cost saving thing.

The problem is that you can't do anything to "fix" it after they've butchered the trees.

It makes me angry. It especially makes me angry that they share the name of my favorite basketball team ;)

We missed all the tournament so far but at least Duke is still in it for the last weekend... (and we don't have high speed internet to watch recordings of the games...).

Victoria said...

They're doing the same thing to the big pines up here. It makes me so angry and frustrated. Our trees are already so stressed by drought that they're dying. Southern California Edison (the energy company) is just hurrying that along by pruning in such an idiotic manner. But, when the tree dies, who has to pay to have it removed? The property owner, not Edison. You have my sympathy, NCmountainwoman!



Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a shame. Our power company does something similar to the Bradford pear trees in our downtown every few years. They look so sad for what seems like a long time, but Mother Nature has her ways and they grow back more beautiful than ever. It's a shame they wait until they have to take drastic measures. Sadly it must be the same everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Those trees look very sad. Certainly tree-trimming can be done in a way that protects the trees, the community, and the powerlines. It just takes time and a little thoughtful consideration.

Vicki Lane said...

That's awful. Like a slap in the face. Another black mark for Duke Energy. Where is The Lorax when you need him?

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

It's sad to see the pine trees pruned like this. Oh, my! I hate to see nature destroyed.

troutbirder said...

And so Carolyn rests her case for the prosecution. And I vote "guilty as charged." And add a quiet Amen in conclusion....

Folkways Note Book said...

What a terrible assault on these beautiful trees. And the community as well. Nature and community are knitted together. Duke is like a rabid machine with these trees. Protest is the key to make Duke uncomfortable. Machine and money of course has no sentiment for nature nor community in this instance. -- barbara

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone. As I write, some four weeks after the trimming, the trees are being removed at the request of the college and the community. Duke Energies is cutting them down.