Durham Tree Trimmers Try to Save Green

Durham, NC (July 31, 2007)- Power crews cutting tree limbs in Durham are under new supervision after residents complained they trimmed away too much. Residents in the Northgate Park said pruning jobs done two weeks ago cut too deeply into trees and left them looking aesthetically unpleasing. Alex Johnson, Durham’s Urban Forestry Director, accompanied tree-trimming crews as they returned to the streets Tuesday after a two-week break. Johnson said he’s responsible for inspecting each cut that workers make.

“Your property values are higher if you have well-maintained trees, and they’ve also found crime rates are lower in tree-lined neighborhoods,” said Shiflett, a longtime resident of Northgate Park and a former member of the city’s appearance committee who said she has studied the value of trees in neighborhoods.
Crews have adopted different techniques to leave more green on the trees, Johnson said. “They (crews) were cutting a pathway into an area where they needed to prune, rather than repositioning their truck,” Johnson said.
City Councilman Mike Woodard planned to tour some work sites with a Duke Energy representative Tuesday night to see if there was any improvement. Duke Energy officials called tree trimming a balancing act between aesthetic and safety concerns around wires that each carry between 12,000 and 24,000 volts of electricity.
“You can never change that. Once you’ve cut those trees that way, they’re always going to be ugly. They’re always going to be deformed,” Shiflett said. Neighborhoods without full-grown trees miss out, Shiflett said. “It just makes you cozier and part of nature to have these great trees,” said Shiflett.
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