Tree care professionals contracted by Cloverland Electric Cooperative use ‘directional’ pruning techniques. These techniques were developed by the National Arborist Association and are published by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
Directional pruning removes entire branches and limbs back to the main trunk of the tree, where trees normally shed them. By using this practice, future tree growth is directed away from power lines and weakly attached re-growth is minimized. Directional pruning takes advantage of strong points in the tree’s structure. Branches growing away from electric lines or facilities with adequate line clearance are usually left undisturbed. Directional pruning does not harm the tree’s natural defense systems and other natural processes that protect the tree from decay and aggressive re-sprouting.
Directionally pruned trees may appear misshapen. In the long run, however, such trees are less susceptible to pest and decay problems and less likely to drop branches and cause damage during storms. In fact, compared to other methods such as topping, stubbing or pollarding, directional pruning is better for the protection of the tree’s health. Where severe pruning is necessary to obtain satisfactory clearance, the tree may be selected for removal.
Years of experience and studies show the safest and most efficient way to keep electric rights-of-way clear of trees and brush is through the careful use of herbicides. Cloverland uses a selective herbicide program that assures safe and easy access for our service and maintenance needs while preserving natural surroundings – including wildlife habitat – for all to enjoy.
With less competition for moisture, sunlight and nutrients, a meadow-like setting filled with beneficial grasses and wildflowers thrives. Studies show these types of programs enhances wildlife habitat by promoting grasses, low growing shrubs and other ground cover preferred by birds, deer and other small animals.
The herbicides used work on enzymes found only within plants, not people or animals. These compounds enter through leaves and stems to control the plant from the inside. What’s more, the products we use have undergone years of testing. The EPA approves such products for use only after determining they will not adversely affect people, animals or the environment when properly applied.
In using herbicides, Cloverland is utilizing a “best management practice” accepted and promoted by the electric utility industry to provide cost-effective right-of-way vegetation management. Vegetation management with herbicides is half the cost of any other method and decreases over time. Other methods of maintenance increase in cost over time. Many of our neighboring electric cooperatives, private utilities and counties use this important vegetation management tool.
Considering the impact of alternative methods of brush control, such as mechanical mowing, herbicide applications result in less damage to the environment and to wildlife populations. The destruction of nesting sites and beneficial vegetation, erosion of soil, and negative visual impact are serious concerns to right-of-way management. The Game Lands right-of-way study conducted by Penn State University began in 1953 and continues to prove how important the use of herbicides can be in establishing a bio-diverse right-of-way that enhances wildlife habitat.
Cloverland requires crews that apply herbicides follow strict usage guidelines. These crews must hold a pesticide application license from the state in which they work or they must work under the direct supervision of a certified applicator. Furthermore, they must conform to all state and federal laws.