Pruning trees can be dangerous business if you don’t know what you’re doing or aren’t careful. Pruning trees around power lines, however, is guaranteed dangerous; no matter which precautions you take.
Trimming trees that are near power lines isn’t a task you should ever take on yourself, because the risks are too great: you can put yourself in danger, as well as your family, your home, the neighborhood, and the power grid. Tree maintenance around power lines is your responsibility as a homeowner, but that doesn’t mean you should try to tackle this chore without help from a professional.
The Importance of Pruning Near Power Lines
At least a fifth of all unplanned power outages happen because trees or other plants interfere with the power lines. This can happen because the trees haven’t been maintained properly and they grow too close to the power lines, or because the trees are blown into the lines in high winds during a storm.
Moreover, in dry weather, a tree that gets too close to a power line can actually catch fire. Finally, a tree that’s too near a power line can also provide a path for the electricity to reach the ground, which endangers anybody who touches the tree.
Power Line Pruning Is Not a Job for Homeowners
You may be responsible for making sure the trees on your property are properly maintained when they’re near power lines, but that doesn’t mean it’s a job you should take on yourself. One wrong move can actually prove fatal, because the voltage running through a power line is enough to kill you if you accidentally touch it with your body, a tool, or some other piece of equipment.
Furthermore, the job also brings the risk of non-fatal electrocution, falling, and other injuries. Moreover, if you were to trim a limb or branch incorrectly, it could fall on the power line, and this could result in a fire, a power outage, and perhaps even a downed line.
Special Equipment and Training Are Required for this Precision Job
Because of the hazards involved with trimming trees near power lines, it requires special equipment and proper training to execute the job safely. In terms of equipment, the job requires:
- Special gloves
- A chainsaw with a spark arrestor
- A bucket or way of safely accessing upper branches
- Fall gear
- A hard hat
- Hearing and face protection
- Special boots
Along with having all the right equipment, pruning near power lines also demands a great deal of training and knowledge. In fact, only a tree service who’s qualified for line clearance should ever attempt trimming this type of tree. These professionals have years of training and thousands of hours of experience, and that includes specialized knowledge regarding tree and power line safety and electric utility vegetation management.
This includes knowing how to trim trees so that future growth is directed away from the power lines (while also preventing disease and pests), and how to get the job done safely and effectively without causing injury or damage to the tree, the grid, people, or surrounding property.
Trimming trees always requires care, attention, knowledge, and some special tools and equipment, but even if you have years of experience with your own trees, pruning around power lines isn’t something you should ever attempt on your own. Along with the regular worries of tree health, aesthetics, and personal safety, you also have the additional concern of high voltage lines to contend with. Trimming trees near power lines is extremely dangerous and can even be fatal, but you can also cause other problems like fires and power outages.
This job should always be left to a tree service with the training, experience, and equipment necessary to get the job done safely, so please call a professional when you need to trim a tree near a power line.
Learn more about tree trimming in St. Louis, Missouri here.