I grew up with a beautiful silver maple tree in my front yard. One of its branches sat just low enough so I could hoist my 7-year-old frame up to sit atop it. I could look out at the expanse of the yard of my childhood home. To my right, two large maple trees stood. I would jump into the leaves underneath them in the fall, and lie under them with my dog, Lucky.
When I was a teenager, my dad had to cut down the silver maple — it was dying. Then one of the maple trees had to come down, this time for a different reason — it was growing into the path of the service line that brought electricity to our home.
These sentinels of our property are special, but sometimes they need to be removed or pruned for our own safety and to ensure our families continue to receive reliable electric service to live comfortably — a hot shower, a cold drink from the fridge, a light by which to read our children a bedtime story.
Our vegetation management team and the contractors we hire, which include licensed foresters and arborists, work hard to keep trees as healthy as possible and meet state and federal regulations. Sometimes that means arborists partially prune trees, leaving them looking a bit different than before. Sometimes it means we have to prune branches in compliance with the Maine Slash Law. It may also mean we have to entirely remove trees, much like my dad needed to do with the maple tree on our property.
Trees are the No. 1 cause of power outages in Maine. It makes sense, given we’re the most heavily forested state in the nation. I work with your neighbors, friends, and community members at Versant who work around the clock to keep the lights on. Our lineworkers are instrumental in restoring power and doing behind-the-scenes work to improve reliability.
Our vegetation management team and contractors are instrumental, too. They’re keeping you and the kids in your life who like to climb trees (like I did) safe by ensuring those trees aren’t in contact with lines. They’re making sure the next storm doesn’t bring a branch down onto the lines. They’re doing behind-the-scenes work to figure out where they need to prune trees and how much they need to prune. In fact, they have a plan and schedule, and you can request they notify you before scheduled tree maintenance in your area.
Throughout 2023, Versant Power will be working to minimize tree-related power outages and momentary interruptions by pruning and removing trees in communities throughout Aroostook County. For more information, visit versantpower.com/trees.
As for silver maple trees, my dad ended up planting a new one. Maybe it will have a low branch that I can hoist my much older self onto someday. The maple tree wasn’t replanted because it would grow up much the same as the last (into the service line), but I did plant a white pine sapling in the backyard.
And the electricity? Well, my parents still live in that house in Crystal, and they’ve continued to receive safe and reliable power because of my coworkers.
Shelby Hartin grew up in Crystal, Maine, and is a communications specialist at Versant Power.