Tree trimming beyond the holidays
Now that the holidays are over, tree trimming may be a task you’ve crossed off your to-do list. But for Dawson PPD’s Tree Crew, the trimming is a year-round event.
Tree Crew Foreman Colten Mast and Tree Crew Worker Kat Cavanaugh work with customers and lineworkers throughout Dawson PPD’s service territory to keep trees and other vegetation in check. The purpose of trimming or removing trees is to keep the power reliably flowing to customers.
“We try to use the 10-year plan when trimming trees,” Mast said. “This means we trim at least a 15-foot clearance around Dawson PPD’s power lines to ensure that the branches will not encroach on this clearance for the next 10 years.”
The fall and winter months are some of the most opportune times to trim trees. Deciduous trees drop their leaves, revealing branches for easier access to overhanging branches. Also, the trees are delivering essential nutrients from the soil to the roots in preparation for a long winter, so trimming is less stressful on the plant.
When trimming trees, teamwork is key. Lineworkers patrol their assigned territory and monitor vegetation growth. If there are trees that need to be trimmed or removed, the lineworker contacts the customer whose property the trees are on.
“We want to work with the customer,” said Dawson PPD Journeyman Lineman Ryan Keith. “We don’t want it to be a surprise. I talk with the customer about what trees need trimmed or removed, explain the why and the process of removal.”
Customers may also support Dawson PPD’s work by being mindful of where they plant their trees on their property.
“The best trees are the ones that are nowhere near power lines,” Mast said. “It’s important to consider the mature size of a tree before planting to be sure that it won’t eventually grow into an overhead power line.”
Dawson PPD budgets a certain amount of money for tree trimming and removal annually. With most of Dawson PPD’s service territory in the Platte River Valley, trees are abundant.
While trimming and removing trees, at least one employee is always monitoring the other workers’ surroundings to ensure safety and to point out unseen obstacles. As branches fall, employees place the wood into a chipper that chops the wood into a mulch-like consistency. Then, the wood chips are hauled away. Customers may request to be placed on a list to receive the mulch free of charge.