Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Thursday, January 19, 2012

When The Tree Warden Warns About Poor Pruning We Need To Listen

It's obvious, the tree trimming sponsored by National Grid has been poor.  The result of the poor pruning was witnessed by us all in October.  Since then I have wondered whether this was due to the actual contracted tree service just going through the motions, or National Grid setting the bar, and expectation, far too low.  The email I received from Sturbridge Tree Warden, Tom Chamberland puts the acorn right in National Grids lap.

The Board of Selectmen need to play a bit of hardball with National Grid.  Testifying to the incompetence of National Grid during the storm was great, now they need to set standards for Sturbridge, and insist that they be followed to avoid a repeat of the October  power outage.

When a warning of a hurricane comes from a meteorologist on TV we listen, and act accordingly; when a warning about ineffective tree trimming comes from our Tree Warden we would need to be as attentive.  If we don't heed the warning, we'll be cursing National Grid in the dark again.

Snow damage to National Grid lines in Glastonbury Connecticut.
All of NationalGrid coverage area was out of commission due to
the early, heavy snow in October 2011.
"Wally: Attached are the pruning drawings that Nat Grid has contracted Lewis
Tree to trim [too] and has provided to the Town.

I also want to draw your attention to the line below: 

"Also note that this
clearance "window" does not imply that we will remove healthy, strong
overhang or mature leaders normally found throughout the entire system within
the clearance spec zone."

It is these very branches that I feel caused the majority of the outages.
The pruning that Nat Grid is proposing does very little to insure any real
"storm proofing"  Without being "up in the bucket" it is very hard to make a
call from the ground as to how strong a limb may be, and to only real way to
be sure the limb will not fail in a storm is to remove it, a line clearance
procedure called "blue skies" The real challenge  it to try to find that
balance, but as we deal with "mother nature" I'm not sure how successful one
can be.

Tom Chamberland
Tree Warden"

Click here to view the National Grid drawings, and procedure, for trimming trees in different areas.

1 comment:

  1. In 2009, we spent some money on the trees around our property and along our driveway, having them pruned of dead limbs, inspected for bugs, etc. We don't have a garage and our cars are outside so we worry about damage to our cars.

    When this storm hit us, we experienced some downed limbs here and there but we didn't realize how hard the area was hit until we inspected our street (we're set back from the road and can't see other homes) and saw all the damage.

    We strongly feel that trimming our trees the year before strengthened them and they held up much better in the storm. Also, there were no deadwood or limbs to worry about.

    Homeowners can help themselves by spending a little bit of money on pruning the trees that are closest to their dwellings and along their driveways. We are certain that the few hundred bucks we spent went a very long way for us.


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