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Monday, 20 October 2008 21:18

Untrimmed trees are a hazard

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  • You should take immediate action with any trees under power lines, and the power authorities are urging people to prune, top, or remove trees that are likely hazards.
  • Strong winds are the main hazard as they blow trees on to power lines. Trees are the main cause of power breakdowns. Recommendations are that no branches or foliage are allowed within 3m radius of power lines. You need to make sure that a tree is not so tall, that if it blew down it would contact the power lines. If there is a risk, then the tree must be pruned or removed.
  • Trees with wet bark which come into contact with high voltage lines can endanger the lives of people and animals touching them. Plant only small trees near or below lines, and if you have inherited big trees near power lines, contact your power authority for advice. They should provide this free of charge.
  • Even underground power lines can be damaged by tree roots so you should think before planting, and again check things out with your power authority.
  • If you experience a situation where trees have fallen across power lines, don’t go near and keep others away until professional help arrives. You could get a fatal zap.
  • And if you have a tree with branches growing among any sort of wires (power or phone), get some professional help to remove it. You could end up with a very expensive disaster if you don’t.
Dr Clive Dalton

Clive did a Ph.D. in sheep breeding at the University of North Wales at Bangor. After lecturing at Leeds University, he came to New Zealand to do research with MAF. Because of his communication skills, he moved to the Ruakura Agricultural Research Centre to be fully involved in interpreting science for practical application by farmers.

After 14 years he moved to teach at the Waikato Polytechnic where he taught young future farmers. He won the 1993 Landcorp Communicator of the Year award and the 1999 Sir Arthur Ward award for agricultural communication.