Have you seen colored markings on a few trees in your area? Personnel from American Electric Power are looking for hazardous situations where trees are affecting power lines and causing a safety hazard.
There are 15 circuits in Tiffin, some entirely in city limits and some reaching into rural areas, and they all need thorough checking to ensure the safety of people and property. The last trimming in our area was somewhere between 10 and 12 years ago, so there will be quite a bit of work needed to catch up. It then will be AEP's goal to inspect and trim every four years.
Certified arborists perform the necessary tasks for AEP, with the goal of providing safe and reliable utilities for residents.
Richard Bosse, who is a utility forester, addressed the Tiffin Shade Tree and Beautification Commission at its last meeting, together with Keith Chapman, to explain procedures. Working on energized lines requires skill and knowledge, and all workers are properly certified for line clearance.
They emphasized this process does not include phone lines.
Current markings will include a green dot for trees to be trimmed this year, and a yellow dot for next year's work. A pink or red X would indicate a more serious situation and, if the tree is on private property, the homeowner will be contacted to discuss removal.
If no one is at home, a yellow door card will be left at the residence to explain procedures to be followed.
Ash trees present a special situation in this time of the invasion of the emerald ash borer, and all ash trees will be among the first marked for removal.
No one likes to see a tree cut down, but in this case, it is better to remove the tree safely even though it may still be in the early stages of infection, rather than to risk the dying tree falling and injuring someone. A large ash fallen behind a property also be difficult and expensive for the owner to remove at a later date.
It is strongly recommended anyone planning to plant a tree seek advice and plans before planting. Conifers or other tree with strong central leaders should never be planted under power lines.
If there is trouble, the entire tree probably will need to be removed.
The right tree in the right place is everyone's goal.
Tiffin is graced with many beautiful trees in parks and yards as well as along many streets, thanks to those who planted them over the years, and the Tree Commission is working to keep the city safe as well as attractive.
Success so far can be measured by the comparatively few trees that have fallen in recent storms in comparison with neighboring communities.
Homeowners should never attempt to prune branches near electric lines. This is a job for a well-trained expert.
In the past, trees were sometimes topped (removal of upper and upright branches with many intermodal cuts) or tipped (removal of the tips of side branches), but this no longer is done. The person doing the pruning will weigh many
variables before any cuts are made.
We all want to preserve and protect our trees and still be assured our utilities are transmitted safely for the benefit of everyone.
Janet Del Turco is a local gardener and a graduate of the Ohio State University Master Gardener program.
Contact her at: