AEP-PSO offering an alternative to its tree trimming program

Wednesday, November 12th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

AEP-PSO routinely cuts tree limbs to keep them from interfering with power lines. But some of their handiwork leaves homeowners a little hacked off.

There's an alternative though you might not know about, that gets right to the root of the problem. News on 6 reporter Steve Berg has more.

The work crew with a strange-looking device immediately got the attention of midtown homeowner Laura Ellsworth. "We were out in the front cleaning up leaves and we talked to them, about four trucks of guys out there, so we're like, what are you doing?"

They're injecting a chemical called Cambistat in the ground around the tree. Cambistat is what they call a tree growth regulator. Basically it stunts the tree's growth so it doesn't get into the power lines as much. “It reduces the amount of tree that must be cut, which will produce a better appearing tree after the trimming is done."

AEP-PSO says the chemical is no more toxic than table salt and actually improves the tree's health. When Ellsworth heard what they were doing, she jumped at the chance. "They came back later and said can we do your trees and I was like, sure! I hate it when PSO comes in and whacks off the branches." Of course not all tree trimming can be avoided, especially with older trees that have already gotten into the power lines, but they hope the chemical treatment can reduce trimming.

AEP-PSO is often in a Catch-22 with trees. People don't want them cut, but they don't want them taking out their power in the winter either. The tree growth regulator can often keep them out of the lines and also keep their beauty. "Trees are, you feel like you're out in the forest in this backyard. It's awesome."

Because the treatment has not been widely publicized, some residents have been confused and thought the crews were trying to pull a scam.

AEP-PSO encourages people to call the utility's office if you want to double-check their credentials. You can also call AEP-PSO if you want to request the chemical treatment.