Arborist Art: The Hidden Upside to Separating Trees from Power Lines

TreeIn a world where tree trunks come with either leaves or power lines attached, the leafy one will always take second fiddle. The decision was quite easy, since seeing an oddly sliced tree is generally much preferred than running from a burning one.

Reaching Up

Trees are very slow to grow. But, there are quite enough of them around to pose risks to man-made structures on a regular basis. Unless people take some outlandish measures, trees will grow wherever and however they please. Roots will lift pavements, branches will tap on windows, and fallen leaves will cover entire fields. Only pruning will keep the trees in check, especially when they find themselves playing our 20-thousand volt power lines like a fiddle.

The South Australian Government even drafted extensive guidelines for power line and tree spacing. Generally, the higher the tree, the more distance it needs. The higher and more electrically charged a pole is, the farther it has to be from any interfering structure. Especially if that structure can grow and house all manners of small critters.

Cutting Down

Arborists from say that pruning trees already entangled with power lines is an extremely dangerous task. People must be alert for if ever the tree catches fire. They advise immediate pruning to prevent possible injury and power outages. Pruning is the only reliable method of separating the tree from the power line, as cutting the tree itself will likely result in worse complications.

Depending on the severity of the wood-wire fusion, arborists can prune trees either in a way that completely retains their form, or into a state that would make Pablo Picasso proud. Pruning has to leave much space between the farthest leaf and the closest cable, so an indiscriminate amount of branches may end up cut. This results in trees looking like amateur topiaries, crescents, half-eaten pizzas or giant pieces of broccoli sliced with a billboard-sized knife.

In a way, tree pruning has unintentionally turned into an art, and each final product is weirdly fascinating to behold. Even at times when nature reaches out to the new world we have created for ourselves, people find ways to turn that contact into an outlet of beauty.