Ausgrid’s chemical ploy to reduce tree hacking near power lines

Steven Deare | Manly Daily

Source: Steven Deare | Manly Daily

ELECTRICITY provider Ausgrid hopes to reduce complaints about trees being hacked near power lines by trialling the use of a chemical. 

The utility is trialling the use of a tree growth retardant called paclobutrazol to stymie the growth of branches and keep them a safe distance from power lines. 

This would be applied to selected street trees. Ausgrid has often attracted complaints from home owners over its contractors’ untidy pruning of trees. Manly residents Kevin and Josephine Abrahamson were shocked by how their trees were cut by Ausgrid contractors. 

A spokeswoman said Ausgrid understood pruning could sometimes look harsh, and it was investigating ways to reduce the need for tree trimming. 

Other electricity providers use tree growth regulators to ensure the safety of power lines, she said. A member of the Institute of Australian Consulting Arboriculturists, Peter Castor, said while the chemical was not new, it was not often used. 

“It’s most effective when trees are lopped first, then injected,” Mr Castor said. 

“The regrowth is then retarded. 

Its growth is dwarfed when it regrows. 

“So I don’t know how effective it would be on trees that aren’t lopped.” Mr Castor said the chemical could not be sprayed, and had to be applied on an ongoing basis.

i.Tree pruning like this has often upset residents. Source: News Corp Australia
ii. Braden Fastier. Source: News Corp Australia

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