Another tree question

Twice over the past 3-4 months, one particular tree in our neighborhood has dropped branches that have knocked out the power for several hours. I’m wondering what you would do/what you think ought to be done.

Ours is a typical Chicago suburban neighborhood. Lots are not huge - approx. 60’x160’. Most yards are fenced. The power lines run on poles along an easement along the rear property lines. Power company comes around every several years to clear obvious problems.

This tree is a large black locust, at least 50-60’ tall. It is not right on the property line - probably 20’ away from the lines. The branches do not directly interfere with the power lines, but one large portion of the tree (maybe a 3d of the entire tree) spreads out in a manner such that several branches are maybe 20’ above the lines, and when they drop, they have taken out the power. Power goes out for both sides of the block (the houses backing up to each other) and stretching for about 3-4 blocks (maybe 60-80 houses total).

The power company seems to get at the lines by working from the yard BEHIND the one where the tree is located. The owners of that property have to dispose of the branches that fell and any others that the power company takes down while working.

The 2 properties are directly to my S - so I am neither the tree owner, nor the person disposing of branches.

What - if anything - do you think ought to be done by whom? (I’m not personally planning on doing anything, tho I’ve considered a call to the power company asking if this particular tree was a problem that THEY ought to look into.) AFAIK, all neighbors are on pretty good terms w/ each other.

IMO, the agency that owns and maintains the power lines should be responsible for removing and disposing of trees, limbs, and anything else that encroaches on their easement. If trees exist outside that easement that are capable of damaging the power lines, this agency should negotiate with the property owner to address the issue. Who pays for the removal and disposal of such trees and branches would be part of that negotiation. If the property owner tells the agency to pound sand, well, they pound sand. Part of that sand pounding may consist of lobbying the local governing agency for a larger easement so said tree is now included in the easement.

I don’t think it should be allowed for the agency to be able to cut trees outside of their easement (they do where I live; not only do they cut branches and trees outside their easement, but also spray an unknown–to me-- herbicide outside their easement that is capable of killing grown trees; i.e., not glysophate). The agency should also be responsible for disposing limbs and/or trees they cut, if the landowner requests. I don’'t see why a landowner who does not cut the branches or own the tree from which the branches are cut should be responsible for their disposal.

Yeah - it is kinda an iffy proposition. Often, people complain when the utility comes through and mangles trees. But when you lose power, it casts it in a different light.

I wonder what I would do if I were the tree owner. I THINK I’d pay for the tree to be trimmed/removed. They lost power as well as their neighbors. But I doubt there is any obligation for them to do so.

And I think I would be pissed if I were their neighbor, who has had to clean up the branches.

On my way to work a few months ago I noticed a huge tree that had been partially uprooted by wind/rain, so that it was being held up by the power line running alongside the road. Wanting to be a good citizen(?), I called the power company and described what I saw. It seemed obvious that removing this tree now would prevent an eventual power outage.

The power company CSR asked if my power was currently out. No. OK, thanks for calling. Turns out they do not prevent outages, other than specific tree-trimming projects. I go by the tree-on-the-wire every day and things look a little more perilous every few weeks.

It seems cities have limited budgets for preventative maintenance. The trees in my yard and the woods beside me have dropped branches on my power line numerous times since I have been there. Although the line has been knocked to the ground a time or tow, it only cut the service once.

Last year a very large branch, really a third of the tree, cracked and leaned over the line. I notified the power company about the impending doom. They took a look and said they can only clear branches that are touching the power line. A month later, it fell all the way and cut the power, at night, in a driving rain. The same guy had to clear everything and restore my power. Hope he was happy- he sure was wet.


I have a row of black locust that runs next to my power lines too. They were planted before power was ran up this road. Maybe as a wind break or maybe somebody thought they might need a wagon wheel to return east. It is very dense heavy wood.

Every few years a representative from the power company comes by and tells me that they will be cutting trees back from the power lines and that they may have to take all those trees out. I say fine! Remove those thorny sons of bitches that throw seedlings everywhere!

Then the power company contracts the job out to Trees, Inc. who comes by and cuts about 3 feet of the branches away from the lines, so that they can come back in a few years to do they same damn thing. If they would take the things down they wouldn’t be back for 30 years. But that isn’t how money is made. Rant over.

Your city may have restrictions about removing trees. Many cities do.