‘Mutilated’ trees outrage property owner

Winnebago retiree Tony Jardine lives on 5 quiet acres lined by Colorado spruce trees. Some of those trees, Jardine says, are 30-40 years old and up to 70 feet high.

Jardine explained ComEd has routinely trimmed any branches coming too close to power lines on his property, and that they’ve always taken care to preserve the beloved trees.

Jardine reports, however, crews did not extend such consideration during their most recent trimming visit.

The workers, according to Jardine, did not use cherry-pickers to prune branches away from lines, as has been standard in the past. Jardine was infuriated to discover the crew was simply cutting down the towering trees with chainsaws.

“I think they could take a little more care of cutting trees instead of butcherin’ ’em up,” Jardine said. “If we were gone for two or three days, I’ll betcha that these trees would have been all cut down.”

Luckily for Jardine, that was not the case, and he was able to intervene, bringing work to a halt.

According to ComEd spokesman Paul Callighan, sub-contractors now handle tree-trimming for the utility company.

After Jardine stepped in to stop the workers, he stated a ComEd representative, accompanied by the crew’s supervisor, came to examine the handiwork.

“They were flabbergasted,” Jardine said of their reaction.

“The ground where the pine trees are located was too soft for use of a bucket truck,” Callighan responded. “A manual crew was sent to do the necessary tree trimming. Because of concerns about the extent of the tree trimming, discussions were held with the property owner on Friday, and it was agreed trimming could be delayed until the ground is more firm. A bucket truck will be brought in, and less trimming will occur than with the manual method.”

Callighan said the trimming will probably occur in November.

Although he has received little consolation for the trees he lost, Jardine says he’s been assured a supervised crew will return with cherry-pickers to perform the work properly.

According to the Illinois Association of Park Districts’ Web site, one tree’s contribution over 50 years in controlling air pollution, soil erosion, soil fertility, recycling water and humidity is worth a total of $196,250. National Arbor Day is April 25.

from the Oct. 10, 2007, issue

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