Right-of-way the right way

Posted on Apr 07 2020 in LaGrange County REMC
Photo of tree trimming

Mark Leu

We love trees. They beautify our landscape, provide shade and are an essential part of nature.

When you see a LaGrange County REMC crew out trimming trees, know that we are doing so to keep you safe and prevent service issues.

Too close for comfort

Although most trees do not present a problem, some of them grow into or crowd power lines or other utility equipment. When greenery becomes too close for comfort, we have to address it because overgrowth can interfere with power distribution and create a fire hazard.

Power lines can give off a spark or arc that may land on a nearby branch and ignite. Additionally, the lights in your house may flicker when tree branches brush power lines during high winds. Stormy weather can also cause limbs to break off and land on lines.

In fact, the majority of power outages are caused by tree-related issues. It is our job to ensure trees, branches and limbs are a safe distance from power lines.

Clear power lines make it easier and safer for lineworkers to access lines and fix problems that may occur. When clearing around lines, we make sure proper pruning techniques are used to preserve tree health as much as possible. Pruning is the first line of defense against unruly trees, although sometimes a tree must be removed. This is a last resort for certain scenarios: when a fast-growing tree is located directly under a power line or for trees that are leaning, in decline, or cracked or split.

Spraying for safety

While we focus a lot on what’s above, we also care about what’s below. Keeping power lines safe means controlling more than 600 miles of lines and poles from high-growth vegetation to ensure safe access to the equipment for service work, to reduce power outages and to enhance the natural habitat. 

You’ll soon see us at work to keep these areas safe for our workers. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Our crew works with the LaGrange County Highway Department to perform right-of-way spraying throughout LaGrange County.
  • We use non-restricted chemicals, which are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, in our herbicide spraying application. They are scientifically designed to work on plants, not people or animals.
  • For those who have gardens or organic areas, our crews are careful not to spray in those areas, and anti-drift agents are also used in the herbicide mixture. To help, property owners should register their organic farms with the highway department and display proper “Do Not Spray” signs that are visible from the road.