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Be on the lookout for tree crews around Wilton, as Eversource has announced an active effort to remove dead, hazardous trees across Connecticut–including in Wilton. In a press release issued this week, the company says it is “increasing [its] investment in tree work to address concerns.”

Crews were seen working on Pimpewaug Rd. in Wilton on Monday, July 29, cutting back branches hanging directly over overhead wires.

Eversource says that environmental researchers and arborists are hoping to raise awareness of the rapidly growing problem of dying, dead and hazardous trees across Connecticut. Together with the CT Department of Transportation and local tree wardens around the state, Eversource is addressing the diseased or dead trees that are causing/heightening concern.

“We have trees throughout the state that have been around for 100 years that are dying at rates higher than ever before,” said Eversource arborist Susan Stotts. “When we’re out surveying, we look for trees with no or sparse foliage or large dead branches over the electric wires. Now we’re able to remove a lot more of those hazardous trees.”

Ongoing insect infestations and drought are two prime causes of tree stress, damage and death, all of which threaten electric wires and structures. Eversource says that trees are the leading cause of power outages in New England—especially during stormy weather. Every year, tree limbs, branches and roots come in contact with the thousands of miles of electric power lines Eversource maintains–damaging equipment and causing public safety hazards. Company officials say their licensed experts and arborists are working to identifying weakened or hazardous trees.

“Our year-round work to trim trees away from power lines and to remove hazardous trees throughout Connecticut is more critical than ever because of the lasting effects of the drought combined with consecutive infestations by the gypsy moth and the emerald ash borer,” says Eversource vegetation management manager Alan Carey. “In my travels around the state, I’ve seen the high tree mortality rate first hand. There are tens of thousands of dying or dead trees from the western side of the state to the eastern border that are weak and pose a real threat to the electric system.”

The concern about the large number of dead and dying trees also has the attention of researchers at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and UConn. UConn associate extension professor of forestry, Thomas Worthley, has extensively investigated the tree mortality epidemic in southern Connecticut.

“The massive amount of large, standing, dead trees throughout the area presents what could be described as a slow-moving environmental disaster,” said Worthley. “The number of dead trees that have the potential to affect roadways and power lines is beyond the current capacity of property owners and many town budgets to address.”

What Wilton Residents Can Do About Compromised Trees

Eversource says the company prioritizes tree trimming in areas that routinely experience outages due to trees. Trimming is scheduled near the electric infrastructure in regular cycles of every four- to five years.

If Eversource arborists or tree contractors determine tree work needs to be done on residential property, the property owner will be notified in advance, either in the mail on in a notice left on a door hanger, with the estimated date work will be performed.

Residents can contact Eversource if there’s concern about a tree on their property that’s near wires. However, the Eversource website says the company’s tree crews “will only remove those branches that have the potential to damage our electric system or are causing significant chafing or mechanical strain to service lines.”

Residents concerned about trees near wires can submit an online “Tree Assessment Request” to Eversource, but are asked to evaluate the situation before doing so, according to the following guidelines:

  • A tree that is close to, but not directly touching the electric service wire between the electric pole and the house:  contact a qualified arborist to perform the tree work.

Eversource will evaluate a tree within 14 days of a tree assessment request, but there is no guarantee that Eversource will complete the work.

According to the Eversource website, “Customers are responsible for caring for and maintaining the trees on their property that could threaten to affect electric wire service from the pole to the home or business, or cable or telephone wires, and need to contact a qualified tree professional.”

If Eversource cuts down a tree that is located on a customer’s property, the property owner is responsible for stump removal. During emergencies, customers are also responsible for removal and disposal of any cut branches or trees on or near their property.

During normal trimming, Eversource tree contractors will remove wood and branches, unless customers request to keep the wood resulting from any trimming that takes place on or near their property. To request to keep the wood, call Eversource at 800.286.2000.