Tree Trimming Raises Concerns

Mississippi Power tree trimmers are working their way through Gulfport. But some neighbors claim the trimming is excessive.

The problem may be that trimming trees is somewhat subjective and often emotional.

Mississippi Power is responsible for keeping tree limbs away from some 6,000 miles of overhead electric lines. The work is done every three to four years and can raise concerns.

The sound of chainsaws echoes down Curcor Drive. A crew spent part of Tuesday afternoon removing a tall pine, dropping it one section at a time.

A professional company does contract work for Mississippi Power.

One neighbor told us they're doing a fine job. But not everyone is so complimentary.

"Well, they pretty much hacked apart my tree. And they wanted to cut more. I actually had to come out here and stop them from cutting. And the tree, the part they whacked, pretty much most of it wasn't even close to the top three wires they're supposed to be keeping clear," Rachel Mestas said.

Her trimmed water oak is among the more noticeable in the neighborhood.

Mississippi Power says the work is necessary to help prevent tree limbs falling on power lines.

"Sometimes it may seem excessive to you and I, but because of what's healthy for the tree and what's required for the clearance of our lines, they'll come in and do what's needed in a given instance," Mississippi Power spokesman Kurt Brautigam said.

Trees that pose more of a hazard to the power lines can be cut down with the owner's permission. But the most common maintenance is trimming.

Rachel Mestas wonders why they don't bury the power lines.

While running the power lines underground may seem a simple solution, the power company spokesman says it presents its own set of problems.

First of all, burying the power lines is much more expensive than running them overhead. Plus, putting the lines underground could also damage the trees by cutting into their root system.

Mississippi Power says any resident with specific concerns about a tree should contact the company and discuss those concerns.

"Certainly we know that this can be an emotional and a difficult process for some of our customers. But it is necessary and there's really no way around tree trimming," Brautigam said.

A spokesman for the tree trimming company told WLOX News the goal is to provide a 15 foot clearance between the tree limbs and power lines. He says most trees have no trouble growing back after they're trimmed, provided they're healthy.