Atlantic White Cedar death and high retention powerlines?

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#1)  Atlantic White Cedar death and high retention powerlines?

Postby John Harvey » Wed Dec 17, 2014 6:22 pm

I've noticed this phenomenon before and took the photos below. In this instance many hundreds of Atlantic White Cedar are dead stretching for almost a mile. It has happened on both sides of the lines. Has anyone else seen trees suffer near these lines?
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John D Harvey (JohnnyDJersey)

East Coast and West Coast Big Tree Hunter

"If you look closely at a tree you'll notice it's knots and dead branches, just like our bodies. What we learn is that beauty and imperfection go together wonderfully." - Matt Fox
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#2)  Re: Atlantic White Cedar death and high retention powerlines

Postby jamesrobertsmith » Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:42 pm

Were they killed with herbicide? A power company will go to some lengths to ensure that nothing mucks about with their transmission lines.
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#3)  Re: Atlantic White Cedar death and high retention powerlines

Postby RayA » Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:34 am

jamesrobertsmith wrote:Were they killed with herbicide? A power company will go to some lengths to ensure that nothing mucks about with their transmission lines.


That would be my first thought too ... the utility companies, where they're not prohibited from doing so, will often spray herbicides along their lines to keep vegetation down. If it were to get tall enough, the high voltage could arc to it.... herbicides aren't great, but arcing wouldn't be a good thing either. If the dieback has obvious boundaries coinciding with the margins of the powerline swath, you can be pretty confident they've sprayed. I wouldn't think they'd be allowed to spray in those wetland areas though ...
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#4)  Re: Atlantic White Cedar death and high retention powerlines

Postby Bart Bouricius » Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:42 am

Ray,

What is and is not a wetland is not always clear to the guys doing the spraying, nor are wetlands necessarily certified as such, and we both remember when spraying along power lines used to be permitted in Massachusetts, it was done pretty much everywhere except where the wetland was so obvious that you couldn't get a spray truck into it, or even use hand sprayers easily.  Also there have been modifications of herbicides recently which could also play a role in this.  All this assumes that it is only the trees adjacent to the power line cut that have died.  If it is from spraying, the deaths of so many Atlantic Cedars might spur legislative action to stop the practice of spraying.  It would of course be useful to know if New Jersey permits spraying in the first place.  Second, was something else, or herbicide dumped or leaked in this wetland area? I remember in the 70's and 80's, When gypsy moth spraying was big, some tree companies would clean out their spray tank and spray equipment in any remote, and sometimes not so remote, water they could find.
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#5)  Re: Atlantic White Cedar death and high retention powerlines

Postby John Harvey » Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:58 am

Spraying could be responsible I suppose. When I trimmed for the power company 12 years ago we would spray stumps and very small areas along the road but the high retention lines were a different crew entirely with cranes and heavier equipment. I imagine they could have an industrial sized sprayer but to me it definitely looks like something could have been dumped. Most of us were environmentally conscious and tried not to use the herbicide unless we absolutely had to but there were always those guys who did not care. I hope someone didn't dump a mass amount so they didn't have to come back to that area 5-10 years later. This was one of the largest stands of these trees I had seen. They usually occur in swamp patches for a couple acres here and a couple there but don't usually stretch for a mile or more.
John D Harvey (JohnnyDJersey)

East Coast and West Coast Big Tree Hunter

"If you look closely at a tree you'll notice it's knots and dead branches, just like our bodies. What we learn is that beauty and imperfection go together wonderfully." - Matt Fox
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#6)  Re: Atlantic White Cedar death and high retention powerlines

Postby DougBidlack » Thu Dec 18, 2014 10:30 am

Couldn't the powerline cut alone be responsible for this?  Some conifers don't fare very well when they go from a shady forest environment to an open or partly open situation.  I don't know if Atlantic White-cedar (AWC) is one of these species.  I know of one powerline cut in AWC forest in North Reading, MA but I can't remember if all the trees along the cut were dying.  It seems like they might have been...I'll have to go and check the place out again.

Doug

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