We speak for the wood
CenterPoint landscaping hits some residents below the belt: Has the treetrimming gone too far?
When it comes to landscaping, the options are seemingly endless. There's the landing strip, a suggestive "V" shape, or some prefer just to go completely bare.
CenterPoint Energy is drawing the line on personal landscaping preferences in its effort to protect energy supply from the hazards of overgrown trees. Because of right-of-way policy, the energy company has full permission to enter a Houston-area residential backyard and slice through an overeager tree if it's encroaching on power lines. Depending on the placement of a tree, CenterPoint will slice off a side, or where appropriate, bestow that coveted "V" pruning.
While some local residents are increasingly perturbed by the Big Brother regulations, the situation can also be seen in a positive light.
"CenterPoint is being more proactive than ever," says Barry J. Ward, executive director of Trees For Houston, a non-profit dedicated to planting, protecting and promoting trees. He cites CenterPoint's encouragement of planting "the right tree in the right place."
That means investing in trees that are in the 10 to 20 feet height range. If you've been pining for a towering pine in your backyard, then it's time to reconsider. Unless you want to black out, then size does matter. CenterPoint's tree recs include the southern waxmyrtle, redbud, crape myrtle and Mexican plum varieties.
CenterPoint is also on a mission to trim trees in a thoughtful manner by complying to the American National Standards Institute A300 Pruning Standards, utility trimming standards accepted by the National Arbor Day Foundation, the International Society of Arboriculture and other tree care organizations. Still, not everybody's going to be happy with their backyard intervention.
"When it comes to how you trim a tree, there's more than one correct answer," Ward says. "If you get 10 different arborists out there, you get 10 different answers."
When CenterPoint knocks on your door and leaves with a few limbs, the company absorbs the cost. However, Ward is quick to point out that that translates to higher energy costs.
Asks Ward, "Can CenterPoint perhaps do a better job of how they trim? Probably. But all of these things cost money and time."
So, the next time you want to impress the neighbors, don't be a Dick, and ditch the 100-foot woody.