In the aftermath and finger-pointing that will surely follow the Great Ice Storm of 2013, there will likely be calls by the utilities and some citizens to obliterate more trees to prevent such wholesale power outages in the future. My response to that is bunk! It is not the trees that are the problem, it is the antiquated and spendthrift ways that the utilities address maintaining and upgrading their infrastructure that leads to such outages.
Certainly, some branches and entire trees should be trimmed back and/or cut, but don’t be fooled by hysterical calls to clear cut along and near entire utility line corridors. All that does is decimate the landscape, make the tree contractors rich, and provide the general public with a false sense of security.
The problem has resulted from years of neglect and near-neglect by utilities of routine tree trimming along and near power lines, as well as their all too common disdain for putting more power lines underground in urban and suburban areas. Neither one of those inactions are the tree’s fault, they are poor decisions/practices by the utilities. Sacrificing trees will not resolve the lack of routine maintenance or system upgrades. All it does is delay the inevitable yet again. Since that foolish and short-sighted choice didn’t work the first time, let’s try learning from history instead. That, in itself, would be a welcome change.