A Red Letter Day

The wretched power lines draped across our park

The wretched power lines draped across our park

Yesterday was a red letter day here. The electricity lines that crossed over the area we call the park were removed. Those lines had nothing to do with us. Our power comes from another line. Back when electricity was first laid on for the district, the publicly owned supplier took a shortcut across our property with a very long span between poles. When there is a long span, the lines get far more of a sway on them. In the decades since, the lines were sold to a private company and our trees grew. And grew. Most of the problem trees were planted by Mark’s father, Felix, who seriously miscalculated how tall they would grow but left the problem to the next generation.

Mark had been getting increasingly anxious about the trees and the power lines. Some trees, like the magnolias, could have branches removed without destroying the tree but we are talking about the upper reaches of an extension ladder to access those branches.

Michelia doltsopa 'Rusty' reaching into the wires

Michelia doltsopa ‘Rusty’ reaching into the wires

Even Magnolia doltsopa ‘Rusty’, though planted on the lowest point, was into the wires. This is a grand specimen and we were reluctant to start interfering with its magnificent stature.  I see I calculated in the past that ‘Rusty’ takes up around 300 square metres of ground area, growing from a single central leader. It can now attain its potential mature size and height.

Pinus montezumae has had a reprieve from its death sentence

Pinus montezumae has had a reprieve from its death sentence

More problematic were the conifers. It is not possible to take the central leader out of a conifer and keep a good tree. Indeed, Pinus montezumae was going to have to be removed entirely. Then there were the next trees just out from the lines but at risk of downing them should they fall. The handsome metasequoia or dawn redwood is about 30 metres high but still a juvenile at only 65 years or so. We were always worried that its grip on the ground may not be that good and, should it fall the wrong way, it would bring down the wires. Indeed, the wires have been brought down twice in our time here – both times by falling poplars that were planted long before electricity lines were strung through the area.

IMG_8367But no more. Yesterday the lines were removed as part of an upgrade on that particular section. We could not be more delighted. And relieved. At least some of the trees should now be free to grow to their maximum size and maturity long past our lifetime.

Dropping the lines yesterday

Dropping the lines yesterday

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