Trim Trees Safely

One thing remembered by people who have experienced hurricanes is the downed trees.  The downed trees or tree limbs can block roads as well as fall on homes and buildings and, at times, even injure or kill people.  I had my tree canopies thinned out this week, hoping to decrease the probability of them being blown over and causing damage in case we get a hurricane this year.  I’m not comfortable handling a chain saw up in my tall trees, so I hired a professional who came highly recommended.

I also had all the coconuts removed from my coconut palms.  I’m sure my neighbors will be thankful for that if a hurricane comes.

Coconut Palm before trimming

Coconut Palm before trimming

Coconut Palm after trimming

Coconut Palm after trimming

Previous blogs have discussed power outages after a hurricane (which are a given) and options for backup power.   One of the reasons for power outages is tree growth near power lines.  When the strong winds of a hurricane blow, it doesn’t take much imagination to picture what will happen when the trees fall onto the power lines or even when the limbs of a tree whip against the lines.

Florida Power Light (FPL) has some good information on their web page related to trees and power lines.  FPL states “its strategy to maintain power lines free of tree growth is based on a consistent, planned trimming cycle.”  On average, the main power lines (feeders) are cleared every three years and the neighborhood power lines (laterals) are cleared every six years.  Last year, FPL trimmed trees and cleared vegetation along more than 11,000 miles of power lines throughout Florida.

In regard to safety, the FPL web site says the following:  “FPL encourages customers to maintain their trees before they interfere with electric lines and equipment.  You should never attempt to trim any vegetation growing on or near overhead power lines. Only specially trained line-clearing professionals should work around power lines. Check your local listings to locate a contractor qualified to trim vegetation around power lines. Before work begins, be sure to verify that the contractor is licensed and insured, and complies with all applicable laws, codes, ordinances and/or permits.”  The FPL web site has helpful hints on their Plant the Right Tree in the Right Place program.

If you do have tree trimming that needs to be done, don’t wait until a hurricane is headed our way to do it.


4 thoughts on “Trim Trees Safely

  1. Good evening sir,
    If you have time, could you please answer this question…why did the NHC skip Invest # 96 and go right to 97?

    I live in West Palm…but prefer Channel 10 for tropical updates.

    Thank you Dr. Mayfield,


  2. I am sorry if I wrote the wrong blog…but I could not find Ask Max, as you had last year.

    If you would like to answer…they went from 94 to Invest 97, skipping two.

    Thank you sir,


  3. FPL’s tree trimming plan sucks. Every 6 yrs is way too long. My block has 5 large trees on the city’s swale so thick up there the wires running through them can’t even be seen. FPL says they are not scheduled to be trimmed in 2009. I for one can’t wait to see how much the execs at that company are being paid.

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