Mayor of ‘Tree City’ slams MLGW for ‘butchered’ trees

Utility company tree trimming on Stage Road, Bartlett, Tenn.

Utility tree trimming is in evidence with this mature tree on Stage Road, Bartlett.
Photo by Nate Hunter


Bartlett’s mayor publicly denounced the local power company’s deep trims to the city’s trees in a May 13 press release.

Mayor Keith McDonald is demanding that Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) and its tree-trimming contractors provide less severe trims and/or give residents far more than the recent 24-hour notices.

“I understand that limbs have to be trimmed to keep power lines free, sure,” McDonald said in his press release. “But they are defacing our trees and leaving an ugly mess. It’s aesthetically unappealing. How can we be Tree City, if they are ruining our trees?”

Hacking up residents’ trees without providing adequate advance notice is a clear violation of MLGW’s written Line Clearance Policy of giving four to five days advance notice, McDonald said.

Some trees are “topped” severely, while others lean dangerously toward houses because they have virtually all limbs shorn from one side, he said.

“It’s an unacceptable abuse of power,” he said.

McDonald urges citizens to contact MLGW to request that cuts be made only within 10 feet of single power lines or 15 feet of triple power lines, and that dead trees be removed. Once the trimming is complete, citizens can request limbs left beneath power lines be cut or the tree be cut down.

An MLGW spokesman did not return a call Monday requesting clarification of the company’s stance on municipal tree trimming.

To voice any concerns about MLGW's Line Clearance Policies, call (901) 320-1438.