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Section 4: Trees and Utility Lines

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Locating Utility Lines

Utility lines should be located so they will cause the least possible interference with major plantings and individual plants of ornamental value.

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Texas Administrative Code

See Section 5, Texas Administrative Code for Utility Accommodation. This rule applies to all utility companies performing construction and pruning maintenance of trees and bushes on state rights of way.

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When Trees Are Not Pruned on the Right of Way

Trees are one of the major causes of power outages in areas of overhead utility lines due to direct tree contact with lines, or to trees or tree limbs falling on the lines. When trees contact live wires, they become conductors of electricity, causing power outages or creating dangerous situations for anyone coming into contact with the trees. Figure 5-17 shows what can happen when tree limbs and utility lines meet.

Tree limb in contact with high-voltage utility
conductor line. (click in image to see full-size image) Anchor: #i999942grtop

Figure 4-17. Tree limb in contact with high-voltage utility conductor line.

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Examples of Severe, But Acceptable Tree Modifications by Utilities

Acceptable tree modifications preserving aesthetic quality and health of tree:

 Severe, but acceptable pruning practices. (click in image to see full-size image) Anchor: #i999946grtop

Figure 4-18. Severe, but acceptable pruning practices.

Severe, but acceptable pruning practices. (click in image to see full-size image) Anchor: #i999948grtop

Figure 4-19. Severe, but acceptable pruning practices.

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Examples of Unacceptable Tree Modifications

Unacceptable tree modifications damage trees, are not aesthetic to the right of way landscape and may be unsafe if unbalanced. Trees which remain unsightly because of repeated pruning for clearance should be removed.

Unacceptable tree pruning performed by utility companies will not be tolerated on state rights of way. Utility companies will correct pruning issues within a predetermined time agreed upon during the reconciliation process. The following figures show unacceptable pruning practices.

 Unbalanced, unsafe and unsightly tree pruning
by utility company.  Trees should have been removed by utility company
for safety and aesthetic reasons. (click in image to see full-size image) Anchor: #i999952grtop

Figure 4-20. Unbalanced, unsafe and unsightly tree pruning by utility company. Trees should have been removed by utility company for safety and aesthetic reasons.

Unsightly tree pruning by utility company.
 Sycamore tree on property line serving no purpose, but a constant
eyesore and maintenance issue.  Tree should be removed by utility
company for safety and aesthetic reasons. (click in image to see full-size image) Anchor: #i999954grtop

Figure 4-21. Unsightly tree pruning by utility company. Sycamore tree on property line serving no purpose, but a constant eyesore and maintenance issue. Tree should be removed by utility company for safety and aesthetic reasons.

 Unacceptable pruning by utility.  Limb
stubs left unpruned. (click in image to see full-size image) Anchor: #i999956grtop

Figure 4-22. Unacceptable pruning by utility. Limb stubs left unpruned.

 Unacceptable pruning by utility.  Sycamore
trees pollarded to prevent contact with utility lines.  Trees should
be removed and shorter-growing trees or large shrubs should be planted in
their place. (click in image to see full-size image) Anchor: #i999958grtop

Figure 4-23. Unacceptable pruning by utility. Sycamore trees pollarded to prevent contact with utility lines. Trees should be removed and shorter-growing trees or large shrubs should be planted in their place.

 Pruning debris not removed and right of
way damage by utility. (click in image to see full-size image) Anchor: #i999960grtop

Figure 4-24. Pruning debris not removed and right of way damage by utility.

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