Hi Neighbors:

The orange truck just pulled away from our house on 39 ½ St. after spending the day cutting our red oak and sycamore trees away from the power lines out front, and I wanted to share a little of what we learned from the process.

Austin Energy employees are driving the area, looking for trees that are too close to the power lines, and earmarking them for Asplundh Tree to cut.  An Asplundh supervisor then comes out to tag the trees (yellow
ribbon for pruning, pink for removal) and to notify the homeowner that the tree work is about to happen.   When this happened here last month, we freaked out and started making calls.   We were very concerned because we planted the trees ourselves many years ago, and though they had grown too close (okay, into) to the wires, they were both magnificent trees.  Having seen what Asplundh and Austin Energy have done to other trees in the
area, we were worried that the trees would be destroyed.  We immediately refused their request to work on the trees until we could find some way to make the best of it.

One of my phone calls was to Scott George of Austin Beautiful Trees. Scott recommended that I contact Don Gardner, a consulting arborist and Scott’s mentor.  Don is available to work with Austin Energy and Asplundh on behalf of homeowners.  Don set up a meeting here at the house with Austin Energy and an Asplundh rep here at the house last week to devise a strategy for minimal pruning.  All of the tree experts pointed and picked and worked out a deal, right down to the last limb. Safety was the #1 priority, of course, followed by preservation of the trees where possible.

Today, Don was here (along with the honchos from Austin Energy and Asplundh) to watch the crew as they worked on the trees.  The results are much better than we could have hoped for.  The trees aren’t as pretty as they were yesterday, but they’re not mutilated beyond recognition.

We’ve learned that if you don’t do this much work and negotiation beforehand, Asplundh tends to cut much more than is necessary for safety. Apparently, if Austin Energy checks a tree after they’re finished with it and finds one limb too close to a line, Asplundh has to send the crew out again for free.  You can bet they cut a little extra every time to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Don’s phone number is 263-2586.  He’s a nice guy, and his service was worth every penny we paid for it.

Chris Allen

From  allandale [Email address: allandale #AT# yahoogroups.com - replace #AT# with @ ], “Chris Allen” <chrisyahoo@a…> 6/22/05 wrote: