The Importance of Post-storm Tree and Vegetation Clearance Services for Utility Companies

After a powerful storm hits, the arduous process of recovery begins. Parts of our communities and natural environments may have been damaged and must be repaired or replaced. Townsend Tree Service, a full-service tree trimming and vegetation clearing company that works in tandem with utilities, is dedicated to helping local utility companies and municipalities clean up and restore services after damaging storms.

Read on as we explore the importance of post-storm tree and vegetation clearance services for utility companies, and by extension, the local community. From reduced risk of future storm damage to faster restoration of utilities, tree trimming services are critical in the process of storm recovery.

How Do Storms Damage Trees and the Environment?

Storms can have a devastating impact on trees and the environment. Trees can be uprooted or have branches broken off during high winds, heavy rain, or snow and ice storms. This can cause damage to buildings, homes, cars and power lines, as well as create hazards for people walking or driving in the area.

Trees also play a vital role in the environment, providing shade, oxygen and wildlife habitat. When trees are damaged or destroyed by storms, it can have a ripple effect on the ecosystem. In addition, storms can also cause soil erosion and flooding, which can further damage trees and other plants, as well as damage waterways and infrastructure.

To mitigate the impact of storms on trees and the environment, storm-resistant materials are often used by utility companies and municipalities in construction. And of course, tree trimming and vegetation management are an important part of this equation.

Additionally, trees that are weakened or diseased are more susceptible to storm damage, so it’s important that tree service providers maintain their health by regular pruning and removing dead or dying branches for the benefit of their communities.

How Storms Impact Utility Services

After a major storm event, trees, limbs and other debris can cause major damage to the utility infrastructure such as power lines, phone lines, and other equipment. Fallen trees and limbs can create power shortages, and large tree limbs can damage critical equipment. This can result in expensive repairs and long delays in restoring utility services.

How Much Does Tree and Vegetation Debris Impact Restoring Utility Services?

After a storm, utility services become disrupted due to damaged lines, poles and other infrastructure components. Tree and vegetation debris can heavily impact the speed of restoration if not addressed. Trees and limbs that have fallen can cause power lines to short circuit, potentially posing a hazard to personnel and property.

Thus, it is essential for utility companies to enlist the help of a tree trimming company like Townsend Tree Service to prevent further damage and restore the power lines quickly. Tree trimming services can provide the necessary tree trimming and debris clearance to ensure the safety of all utility workers and the surrounding environment. This can be a timely process, but it is necessary for restoring and maintaining the integrity of the power lines and other infrastructure components.

Recently, we demonstrated our expertise in storm restoration by assisting our local utility partners in Indiana in late June. Our quick response and diligent efforts helped to restore power and service to affected areas, enabling residents to get back to their daily lives.

What Are the Benefits of Post-storm Tree and Vegetation Clearance?

Post-storm tree and vegetation clearance services provide utility companies with a variety of benefits.

Reduced Risk of Future Storm Damage

Tree trimming services are an important part of storm preparedness for utility companies as it can reduce the risk of tree damage from severe storms.

Severe storms are often accompanied by powerful winds and heavy rain, which can cause branches to break or entire trees to be uprooted. Regular trimming of trees can help to reduce the risk of damage to trees, as it will ensure that trees have fewer branches and are less likely to be uprooted or have branches torn off. Also, if a tree is trimmed regularly, it will contain fewer leaves and branches, so the wind will be able to pass through the space more easily, further reducing the risk of damage.

Reduced Stormwater Runoff and Erosion

Appropriate vegetation clearance and tree trimming can help to minimize runoff and erosion. Trees and other vegetation, when maintained properly, help to absorb and slow down the flow of stormwater, preventing flooding and mitigating runoff and erosion. However, broken tree limbs and blown apart vegetation can clog drains and cause flooding.

By managing debris, a tree trimming company can help to reduce the impacts of stormwater runoff and erosion. Tree trimming services, undertaken by a reputable tree trimming company like Townsend Tree Service, are an effective way for municipalities and utility companies to reduce the potential negative effects of stormwater runoff and erosion.

Removal of Dangerous Trees and Branches

Tree trimming services can also greatly improve safety in the aftermath of a storm. Trees and branches damaged by strong winds and heavy rain can become a hazard in residential and commercial areas. Weakened trees and branches can easily fall and cause damage to property or injure people. Utility workers are at high risk when working to get power lines up and running again.

Our tree trimming service provides utility companies with an effective solution for removing these dangers by clearing debris and removing damaged branches. This not only eliminates the potential for injury or damage, but also enhances the aesthetic appeal of the property by allowing for healthier, safer tree growth.

Faster Restoration of Utility Services

When severe storms occur, it is essential for utility companies to have access to professional tree trimming services. Townsend Tree Service provides quick and reliable services to help restore utility services in areas affected by the storm. Proactively trimming trees can help prevent trees from toppling over, bringing down power lines and otherwise damaging utility lines. Tree trimming services can also help improve the condition and health of trees by removing dead branches and diseased wood.

By quickly utilizing tree trimming services, utility companies can speed up the recovery of utility services and ensure that communities are not left in the dark.

Need Professional Storm Damage Tree Cleanup for Your Utility Company?

At Townsend Tree Service, we offer a range of services to help utility companies and communities with tree clearing after devastating storms. We have a team of highly trained professionals who can assist with every aspect of the restoration process, from assessing the damage to safely removing fallen trees and debris. Our state-of-the-art equipment and advanced technology allow us to work efficiently and quickly, minimizing downtime for utility customers.

Townsend Tree Service is a reliable partner for utility companies seeking assistance with post-storm clean-up and restoration efforts. Our commitment to safety, innovation, and customer satisfaction makes us a trusted choice for high-quality tree service solutions.

Contact Townsend Tree Service today to learn how our team of professionals can assist your utility company with post-storm clean-up and restoration efforts. We are available 24/7 to help with any emergency tree service needs. Let us help you get back to normal quickly and safely.

What Is Utility Vegetation Management and Why Is It Important?

When vegetation encroaches on infrastructure such as power lines, generators, railways and other assets, it can cause service disruptions and hazards, negatively impacting communities. Managing vegetation alongside roadways, railway lines and industrial sites is important to maintain community systems for better safety and convenience.

In short, utility vegetation management is a series of activities that assist utilities in removing unwanted and hazardous vegetation from buildings, power lines and other assets. Damaged trees can impact power lines and cause fires and outages at significant cost to communities. Overgrown vegetation can not only interfere with basic services, but serves as a home to pests and other hazardous species. In addition, invasive plant species can cause structural damage to assets and pose significant safety issues if the plants, such as poison oak or ivy, are harmful.

Types of Vegetation Management

The process of vegetation management covers a wide spectrum of activities, each of which is often specific to a particular situation. In general, one or more of the following tasks will be undertaken in a robust vegetation-management program.

Tree Pruning

Sometimes, healthy trees have grown — or have the potential to grow — close to utility lines and other assets. When this happens, vegetation management experts will determine how to prune the tree to direct its growth away from these assets while preserving the health and structure of the tree through directional pruning. This method helps move branches away from areas of concern and reduces the need for future pruning.

Removal of Brush

Brush piles or dry, low-lying vegetation can be a source of concern when it nears power lines or other infrastructure. Brush removal involves using hand tools to remove flammable material such as fallen limbs, living tree foliage and other brush in the area of concern and then treating the area to prevent brush regrowth.

Vegetation Control

To keep hazardous brush from regrowing in an area surrounding electrical infrastructure or utility assets, vegetation control management often involves using herbicides and weed-control methods. Herbicides will kill plants by interfering with their basic functions while weed-control methods will simply suppress plant growth.

Tree Removal

If a tree is damaged or unhealthy and located within the range of a power line or other utility asset, it may be removed completely. Tree removal is essential to prevent outages, blackouts and wildfires associated with trees impacting power lines.

How Proper Vegetation Management Benefits Communities

Ensuring that vegetation management best practices are followed when it comes to utility assets provides a host of benefits to local communities.

Service Provision

First and foremost, keeping vegetation in check around power lines and utilities ensures that it will not interfere with essential services such as electricity by causing outages. Right-of-way management for transmission lines, access roads, bridges, transformers, relay facilities and more are integral for the continued and reliable supply of electricity to communities across the nation.

Economic and Cost Benefits

Many utilities spend a large portion of their budgets performing vegetation management tasks in right-of-way areas. Smart utility companies use a long-term strategy for managing this vegetation through:

• Selective chemical controls.
• Using low-growing vegetation to outcompete other species.
• Mechanical controls (mowing, pruning).
By implementing these strategies, they can keep ongoing vegetation management costs under control, savings that can then be passed to consumers.

Public Health and Safety Benefits

Power outages can pose significant safety risks, and vegetation that impacts power lines can spark wildfires or cause downed lines, both of which can impact public safety. Unmanaged plant and tree growth can also result in a proliferation of poisonous or invasive species such as kudzu, poison oak, poison ivy and poison sumac. In addition, brambles and brush can be attractive breeding grounds for pests, both insect and animal.

Environmental Benefits

Controlling vegetation not only reduces the potential for hazards and pest proliferation, but also provides a sustainable ecosystem for geographically diverse species, including those that are endangered or threatened. Some management techniques such as weed control and herbicides prevent the incursion of dangerous and invasive species that further erode natural habitats.

The Promise of Good Vegetation Management

Proper vegetation management is a must for any forward-thinking utility looking to provide the highest-quality service to its community and stakeholders. Besides ensuring that electricity is provided in a reliable and safe manner, vegetation control offers a host of other critical benefits such as cost savings and public health advantages and helps contribute to a more sustainable environment.

Townsend Tree Service is a leading, multi-state provider of expert tree trimming, line clearing, and vegetation-management services. Learn more about our integrated vegetation-management services here.”

Who Takes Care of Trees on Highways?

Modern highways are utilitarian and aren’t generally designed as attractive thoroughfares lined with gorgeous trees. Yet, some highways do have their fair share of foliage, and more trees are being planted along highways to help the environment. Who takes care of and maintains these trees?

Trees: Beauty and Hazard

A tree-lined highway is both a beauty and a hazard. Trees are a wonderful addition to a landscape, and when healthy and properly maintained, they add visual attractiveness and serenity to any environment. Trees also offer an environmental benefit in that they eat up carbon dioxide, which is a global-warming gas. Trees also remove particulate pollution from the air. Therefore, more trees are generally better.

Trees can also present a hazard. As trees grow, they can shed leaves as well as branches, and if that tree debris falls onto a highway, it could potentially cause an automobile accident. Additionally, if a storm happens, the trees themselves could fall and block a thoroughfare.

Tree roots can also become a problem for roads and streets if allowed to grow and deform asphalt. While some of this root growth may be tolerable on slower, local roads, it can become hazardous for cars driving at fast speeds.

Because of the downsides of trees, they need to be properly maintained to keep highways safe and free of branches and limbs.

What Is the Difference Between Freeways and Highways?

To understand who takes care of trees on highways, we need to first clarify our terminology. The United States road system is somewhat complicated in terms of who manages what. Many of the definitions are overlapping and confusing to the average person. Let’s look at the difference between a freeway and a highway.


A freeway is almost the same thing as a highway. It’s basically a restricted access road that allows for generally higher speed traffic without any tolls or stops. The lack of tolls is what makes a freeway a freeway. In other words, freeways are free. Freeways are also free of intersections, as well as pedestrians and other forms of non-automobile traffic. A freeway is a type of highway, but a highway is not a type of freeway.


The word “highway” is a broader term for a public-access thoroughfare that could potentially include tolls as well as intersections. However, highways allow for faster traffic than typical roads. Even highways with intersections may allow traffic up to 55 miles an hour or so, depending on the locality, although many localities are looking to move away from lights and intersections on their highways and transition into exit ramps instead.

Both freeways and highways often contain divided traffic. The single lane version of a highway will have cars on the right and cars on the left, but frequently, as the traffic needs of the area grow, you will find divided highways where the two lanes of traffic are separated by a median, or strip of ground in between the disparate traffic. These medians often include trees as part of the landscape.

Here’s another complication beyond just the difference between highways versus freeways in the United States: We also have interstates, which are highways that cross state lines. Interstate highways were generally built by the United States federal government but are now owned by the respective states where the portion of freeway was constructed. Each U.S. state also has state highways that are managed by the individual states. To further confuse things, you can also find U.S. highways that aren’t quite the same thing as federal interstates.

Many of these highways and freeways are overlapping in that there can be a transition between interstate and state highways that is often not so obvious to the person using the road.

Organizations Handling Highway Tree Care

So which organizations are responsible for coordinating and executing highway tree care and where is the funding allocated from?

The Federal Highway Administration

An agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation, — helps state and local governments in building and maintaining the American highway system via the Federal Aid Highway Program. Some of these highways also go through tribal-owned lands.

The FHWA has been around since October 15, 1966, and supports state and local governments with financial and technical assistance to ensure the safety and smooth operations of America’s highways.

State Highway Agencies

In addition to the FHWA, each state has its own agency or agencies responsible for maintaining highways and freeways. For example, Indiana has INDOT, the Indiana Department of Transportation. In Indiana, INDOT handles the roads, including federal interstates, U.S. highways and Indiana state roads, from construction to maintenance to traffic signals.

State highway maintenance operations can include everything from clearing snow in the winter to filling dangerous potholes. Managing vegetation such as trees is also a critical part of state highway maintenance operations.

Local Municipalities and Utility Companies

In addition to state and federal monies for maintaining highways, local municipalities and utility companies may need to manage tree growth along highways and freeways. Some of this management may depend on the exact boundaries of the highway versus the surrounding green area.

Tree Service Providers for Highways

For municipalities that need tree maintenance for local highways, a tree service provider like Townsend Tree Service can help. Proper tree management for highways includes more than just occasional pruning. It should include some strategic planning to anticipate potential problems and establish the best foliage maintenance programs.

With many states opting to add more trees to help with the environment, proper vegetation maintenance is a must.

Townsend Tree Service helps keep highways beautiful and free of dangerous tree debris through proactive vegetation management, power line clearance and
herbicide package and application. Our goal is to deliver results and solutions that improve safety for all.

Townsend Tree Service is a leading, multi-state provider of expert tree trimming, line clearing and vegetation management services. Our vast experience includes keeping highways free of tree debris. Learn more about our integrated vegetation management services here.

Who Pays for Hurricane Clean Up in the United States?

Hurricanes are one of the worst disasters in terms of loss of life and damage to property. Unfortunately, some scientists are speculating that 2022 may be another bad year for hurricanes because of warmer water in the Gulf of Mexico.

Governments, municipalities and utility companies should be prepared and on alert for massive storm damage. Hurricane cleanup, including debris clearing and damaged tree removal, should ideally be budgeted for in advance, if possible.

The Risk of Hurricanes in 2022 and Beyond

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1-November 30. While the chance for hurricanes usually peaks around early- to mid-September, August can also be a big month for hurricanes. While most hurricanes hitting the United States happen during the months of June to November, 3% can still occur beyond the typical hurricane season.

Will 2022 end up being a record-breaking year for hurricanes? We won’t fully know if this year is record setting until hurricane season passes, but it looks like 2022’s weather conditions are especially good for massive tropical storms.

Why? Scientists have noted that the “Loop Current,” which is a stream of warmer water that comes up from the Gulf Stream current and warms the Gulf of Mexico, had already traveled far into the Gulf of Mexico by mid-May, much farther than usual.

A warmer Loop Current has the potential to feed larger storms and create massive hurricanes. Hurricanes need warmer water if they want to grow.

Unfortunately, the 2022 Loop Current pattern mirrors the path of the Gulf current in 2005, which is when the deadly Hurricane Katrina hit. Thus, the Northern Gulf Coast, including areas between Texas, Louisiana and Florida, are a great risk for massive storms throughout this hurricane season.

The Costs of Deadly Hurricanes

Hurricanes are extremely costly, both from a human life perspective and economically. According to NOAA, between 2019 and 2021 alone, the United States experienced 56 weather and climate disasters with costs exceeding $1 billion.

Tropical cyclones or hurricanes caused the most damage and death between 1980 and 2021, with $1.1 trillion in total damage and 6,697 deaths. The cost of all this hurricane damage averages out to $20.5 billion per hurricane (of course, some were far more damaging than others, such as Hurricane Katrina).

But who pays for hurricane clean up in the United States?

Hurricane Cleanup: Who Pays?

A variety of entities end up picking up the tab for hurricane damage, from the federal government to local municipalities. Beyond federal and state disaster relief funding, local governments are often required to tap into reserve funds or utilize credit to fund hurricane cleanup.

Insurance companies may cover some of the costs, but individual homeowners are often left with a large chunk of the cleanup bill.

Local and regional utility companies also need to dig into budgets to pay for necessary infrastructure repair, including utility line repair and tree clearing.

Vegetation Management and Tree Clearing

One of the main sources of damage during a hurricane are trees and vegetation, which can quickly get entangled in power lines or worse, become uprooted. Trees can cause a number of problems during and after a massive tropical storm including:

Fallen Branches and Debris

During a hurricane, tree branches can often fall and bring structures as well as utility lines down with them. The debris can get in roads and block travel, causing all sorts of havoc.

Uprooted and Broken Trees

It’s not uncommon for tree trunks to snap completely during a hurricane, which can cause property damage and death. These fallen trees can also be a major source of power outages. Trees are also often completely uprooted during hurricanes, especially when soil is moist from heavy rainfall.

Unstable Trees

Trees can shift after a hurricane due to the erosion of the soil as well as flooding. If the tree’s roots are saturated for a long time with water, they can drown, which can lead to root rot. Once this happens, the trees are prone to falling, which can cause problems with power lines and put people in danger.

Proactive Vegetation Management to Reduce Hurricane Costs

Because of all the dangers that can come from hurricane tree damage, it is very important for municipalities and utility companies to be proactive about cleaning up trees that might be harmed during a hurricane.

Ongoing, proactive vegetation management before a hurricane hits can help reduce the problem of trees harming power lines and transformers if a storm does barrel through the area.

During extremely strong storms, of course, even the most well-maintained, stable trees can be harmed, but if excess vegetation and sick trees are pruned prior to a storm, then there will be fewer chances of problems.

Keeping trees properly trimmed before a storm can potentially save costs, as it is far cheaper to maintain vegetation proactively than fix damage caused by a tree in a howling storm.

Tree Service Providers for Hurricane Preparedness

One of the most important entities involved in hurricane cleanup is a tree service provider (like Townsend Tree Service), which can be brought in to help municipalities and utility companies for emergency storm response. Tree service providers should also be tapped to clear vegetation proactively, on an ongoing basis.

Also, if a hurricane is forecast to hit an area, it’s a good idea to contact a tree service provider such as Townsend Tree Service ahead of time. If there is sufficient time ahead of the storm, the tree service provider can assess the trees that are close to power lines and prune or clear out any that are growing too close or at risk of falling during a massive storm.

Townsend Tree Service is a leading, multi-state provider of expert tree trimming, line clearing and vegetation management services. We have extensive expertise helping utilities get the power back on after major disasters like hurricanes. Learn more about our integrated vegetation management services here.

What Does “Net Zero Carbon” Really Mean for Cities?

Climate change is at the forefront of many people’s minds, what with recent weather anomalies such as winter tornados and other natural disasters. One of the potential solutions to climate change is reducing carbon emissions. For many, the goal isn’t just reduction, but elimination of carbon emission, called ‚Äúnet zero.‚Äù

The idea behind net zero carbon emissions is that, through the creative use of technology and sustainability practices, we can stop excess carbon from polluting the atmosphere. This, in turn, will help maintain the average global temperature.

Since modern cities are some of the biggest culprits in terms of carbon output, creating net zero carbon cities is a major focus.

Cities and Carbon Emissions

The World Economic Forum, along with more than 70 organizations, is promoting a multi-year initiative called Net Zero Carbon Cities. With 8 billion people on the planet, who mostly live in cities, creating smart strategies for climate change is essential. The number of global city dwellers is expected to go up in the future, with more than two-thirds of the world population set to live in urban landscapes by 2050.

Because of the vast number of people that are and will be living in cities, transforming them into net zero carbon cities must be a top priority. Without better technologies, cities can be a major source of air pollution and carbon emissions.

Cities can also contribute to the heating of the planet even without carbon emissions. How? The lack of trees and addition of asphalt, concrete and other hard surfaces end up trapping and exacerbating heat from the sun. The worst city areas with no trees can become hot, hellish “urban heat islands” that can be critically dangerous to residents during a bad heatwave.

Cities also have other impacts on the environment, from the waste that gets thrown down storm drains to the trash that gets put into landfills (even landfill trash, by the way, contributes to climate change because of the methane it produces).

The New Vision for Net Zero Carbon Cities

To transform cities to net zero carbon will take a combined effort of government, private business and citizens. Each must do their part in order to reduce and mitigate greenhouse gas transmission. However, it’s not just important to control climate change. These changes into a new way of being should also help create better jobs, enable citizen participation and improve health and wellbeing. The new systems should be resilient and, of course, renewable.

In essence, we’re looking to create a future city that is its own urban biosphere, one that works more in harmony with nature than simply displacing it‚Äîwhich is what cities of old used to do.

These new, transformed net zero carbon cities will have a number of features. These include:

‚óè Better roads and traffic systems that reduce congestion
‚óè Improved water treatment, sewage administration and recycling
‚óè More solar panels as well as greenery such as gardens on rooftops
‚óè Smart technologies that enable better use of resources and energy
‚óè Livable, walkable neighborhoods that offer ample tree canopies as well as mixed-use shops and residential areas
‚óè Bike routes to reduce the need for cars, at least among the young and fit
‚óè Better public transportation options that are greener, faster and safer
‚óè Workplaces that don’t require unnecessary travel and on-site work when remote work can accomplish the same tasks with fewer carbon impacts

Upgrading Energy Systems and Utilities

A key part of transforming cities will be upgrading energy systems and infrastructure. The old energy systems in the United States were typically centralized and one-way. But this is an outdated way of doing things. For example, since the advent of solar panels, we could potentially see a lot more energy generated from residential homes that could be sold back to energy companies. Thus, a more distributed model of energy development and management could be utilized.

Smart technologies along with the Internet of Things (IoT) will be an important part of net zero carbon cities in the future. These technologies can be used to track electricity usage and pinpoint areas of waste and overuse. These advances in technology will help urban planners and architects better design buildings and public spaces to be more energy efficient.

Finally, during this transition, we will see many more electric cars on the streets. Many governments are working towards completely eliminating fossil fuel motor vehicles in the next few decades. While this change will require the buy-in of the public, it will eventually be adopted by most. Additionally, self-driving cars may create an environment where individual ownership is no longer necessary for everyone, and cars will be able to be utilized as needed.

Overall, the future of net zero carbon cities is bright.

Townsend Tree is a provider of tree trimming, hazardous tree removal and debris clearing for utilities, governments and energy companies. We are committed to a net zero carbon future. Contact us today for more information on how we can keep energy systems up and running.

What Would Happen If There Were No Trees?

On April 22, we celebrate Earth Day to remind ourselves to be grateful for our home planet. Earth Day is also about protecting the planet from pollution and deforestation by encouraging simple environmental actions such as picking up litter and planting trees.

It leaves us wondering: What would happen if there were no trees? Trees are so important to our well-being, but so often, we forget about their significance. If all the trees on planet Earth suddenly disappeared, it would be devastating to our environment.

The Negative Impact of Deforestation

Imagine a world without one tree on it. We have, of course, examples in our own solar system. Earth is the only planet in our system with trees. If you’ve ever seen footage of Mars, you may have noted how bleak and desolate the planet looks.

That’s because Mars has no trees.

Certainly, Mother Earth has her fair share of sandy deserts and desolate areas, such as Antarctica, that don’t contain any vegetation. But Earth is a forest planet in many respects‚Äîat least, it was.

Earth’s rich tree ecosystem has been quickly deteriorating since the Industrial Revolution enabled machines to advance material ‚Äúprogress.‚Äù The result? Far fewer trees on the planet.

In fact, early settlers to the United States didn’t really realize the value of the forests they ran across. In the 1800s and early 1900s, many beautiful large sequoias and redwoods were mowed down prior to our modern conservationist movement.

This led to approximately “96 percent of the original old-growth coast redwoods” being logged, according to the National Park Service. These old-growth forests were a national treasure that we cannot get back because it took hundreds and thousands of years to initially grow those trees. The world has lost 420 million hectares of forest since 1990. Agriculture and commercial business accounts for much of this loss of critical forest.

The Many Benefits of Trees

Trees offer many benefits to people and the planet. They are an important part of the ecological cycles of nature. People breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. Plants basically do the reverse: they take in carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. For this reason, trees should be an integral part of any climate change mitigation strategy.

Trees don’t just take CO2 out of the air. They also remove common pollutants from the air we breathe, including particle matter (such as from car exhaust) and pollutant gases, including sulfur dioxide and ammonia. If you want to filter the air in your home, houseplants or small trees can help.

Trees also perform other important ecological functions such as reducing soil erosion and providing a home for animals like birds and monkeys.

Additionally, shade from trees helps to cool things down in hot summers. City neighborhoods that do not have a lot of trees are much hotter on average than neighborhoods with trees. Loads of concrete, brick and asphalt in a neighborhood can create what is called an “urban heat island,” which can be very unpleasant in the summer. These heat islands can become deadly, especially for the elderly. For example, in Baltimore, where efforts have been made to plant trees in poor neighborhoods, a study found an eight-degree difference between the hottest and coolest “Charm City” neighborhoods, with the coolest neighborhoods boasting 10 times more trees than the hottest.

Trees also beautify an area and make it more attractive and livable. This doesn’t even account for the psychological benefits afforded by natural beauty.

In short, a world without trees would be a very miserable world indeed.

How to Take Care of Trees

Trees can often do just fine when left to their own devices. However, in the modern era, with so much pollution and issues such as depleted soil, a little tree nurturing can go a long way. First, make sure you plant the right tree for your landscape. Considerations should include the amount of sunlight, the type of soil, the room for the tree’s growth and the climate. Planting a palm tree in Michigan is simply not going to end well!

Water is especially necessary when trees are first planted. In the Baltimore nonprofit initiative to plant trees in the city, they estimated that each tree would need 20 gallons per week to get established over two years.

Fertilizer and mulch can help strengthen trees and give them the nutrition and moist soil they need for healthy growth.

Pruning is also a very important part of tree maintenance. Trimming tree branches does not harm trees. In fact, pruning properly can actually strengthen the core tree structure. Deadwood on a tree can actually cause poor tree health. It can also be a hazard, not just to power lines but to people walking by.

If you represent a government or energy company and need professional vegetation management, Townsend Tree is a respected provider of tree trimming and debris clearing. Contact us today for more information on how we can keep your energy systems up and running.

Why Electric Power Is Often Cut During Snowstorms

Big winter snowstorms can cause a lot of havoc, from dangerous, icy roadways to frozen water pipes. Power outages are also a big risk during a blizzard or heavy snowfall, and these blackouts can put a lot of stress on municipalities. Here are some of the common reasons why power goes out during snowstorms and what can be done to prevent it.

How Snow and Ice Impact Power Lines

In the winter, two of the biggest dangers to power lines are snow and ice. While a little bit of snow might not cause too many problems, a big snow dump can start to weigh down trees and even power lines. Ice is even more dangerous, as it can become quite heavy. Ice and snow together could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, causing large tree limbs to fall or roofs to collapse.

Downed tree branches can land on power lines, taking out electricity for large swaths of customers.

Ice in and of itself poses a great risk to power lines since it is so heavy. Ice can short out power lines and completely take them down with just one inch of precipitation.

Local distribution lines, especially the ones that transport power in rural areas, are typically the most at risk. These lines are usually much more vulnerable because these areas are much less likely to engage in regular tree pruning and maintenance. Long-distance high voltage power lines usually fare better due to ongoing tree maintenance but can still be vulnerable to heavy ice storms.

Why Extremely Cold Temperatures Cause Power Outages

Even if the power lines stay up, extremely cold weather can put a tremendous amount of stress on the power grid. Some electrical system components may fail since they simply can’t handle the colder temperatures.

Excess cold means more people will be turning up the heat, which can add to the load on the electric grid. In the devastating deep freeze that hit Texas in February of 2021, rolling power outages were implemented to try to alleviate grid strain. The deadly winter storm took almost 250 lives according to the state of Texas, with 161 of those related to extreme cold exposure.

These types of tragic deaths can hopefully be prevented in the future through better planning as well as improved technologies.

Winter Wind Poses a Danger to Power Lines

2021 wasn’t just a bad year for cold weather, it was a year in which we saw a lot of December tornados. And while you don’t normally get a tornado with snow, blizzards can often come blustering in via strong winds. These winds can impact power lines directly and indirectly through falling tree limbs.

Animals Can Also Damage Power Lines in the Winter

Both land- and air-based animals can threaten power lines and cause power outages. Birds can unfortunately fly into power lines and squirrels have a habit of chewing on things. Some animals may also try to take shelter in or near equipment like transformers during the winter due to the heat emitted. They may end up damaging the equipment in the process.

> Birds are vulnerable to electrocution by power lines, and they are more vulnerable when wet. If you ever wondered why birds can sit on power lines, it’s simply because they have two feet on the same wire, so the electricity doesn’t need to travel through the bird. But if the bird accidentally touches a different wire or another part of the same wire with a wing, the electrical polarity changes and the bird can get zapped.

Flying into power lines is the bigger problem and kills tens of millions of birds each year. High voltage power lines (as opposed to distribution power lines) create the biggest threat to birds. The electricity being delivered is so strong, it ionizes the air and causes a voltage gradient that gets stronger the closer you get to it. Birds can usually sense this electricity in the air and will steer clear … unless they are flying too fast. In this case, a bird can be literally electrocuted in the air by the voltage gradient without even touching a wire. If they do end up crashing into a line, they can cause a lot of damage.

Preventing Power Outages in the Winter

Utility companies can take some proactive actions to reduce winter power outages. Properly maintained power lines will be less likely to fail during a storm. Keeping trees and debris cleared away from lines and equipment is also essential. Routine equipment inspections should be a key part of every winter storm plan. As for animals and pests, some of these incidences cannot be prevented but a variety of anti-pest and animal protection measures can potentially help, such as perch deterrents.

Keep the power on during the winter with professional vegetation management from Townsend Tree, a reliable provider of tree trimming and debris clearing for utilities, local governments and energy companies. Contact us today to find out how we can keep your energy systems working during the winter.