Greenway Parks Residents Question Men in Trees, Ctd.

A tree-loving FBvian who had five live oaks “butchered” here by Oncor last spring–and later moved to the Northeast–has a few observations about the company:

1.) Oncor would not have notified us in advance if I had not been home when they knocked on my door. I told them that my husband needed to be home to supervise the work and they left. They sent another crew several weeks later and had their “arborists” on site. The trees they “pruned” looked horrible and they damaged $2000 worth of other landscaping which they did reimburse us for.
2.) The crew that did the work was from IOWA!!! Do they know the growth patterns etc. of TEXAS live oaks????
3.) Since the last time we were butchered a few years ago the rules had changed from trimming to a 5 yr growth to a 10 year growth. When asked if that meant they would not be back for 10 years, I could not get an answer. Is trimming for 10 yrs of growth healthy to the tree or even safe in the case of lopsided trees???
4.) One of the first things that I noticed after our move was the beautiful trees alongside the roads–apparently coexisting with the power lines. While some are trimmed a short distance away from the power lines, I have yet to see one tree cut in the severe V pattern or the half-tree pattern that is common in Oncor’s wake. This is an area that gets actual snow and ice.
5.) I do not understand Oncor’s motives since by their own statistics most power outages are not caused by unruly limbs. My favorite was a couple of years ago when virtually all of N. Dallas was blacked out due to a squirrel. I never saw Oncor trying to rid my property of squirrels (I would have paid them extra for that).
There really has to some way to stop Oncor from ruining the trees of Dallas.


Get a weekly recap in your inbox every Sunday of our best stories from the week plus a primer for the days ahead.

Find It

Search our directories for...









View All

View All


  • Could Oncor’s communication with homeowners around vegetation management be improved? Absolutely. Does Oncor discriminate against any particular neighborhood? Absolutely not. Trees (and the squirrels that live in them) are indeed top causes of power outages, and Oncor is actively collaborating with the city of Dallas’ urban forest advisory committee to prevent shade trees from being planted in utility right of ways in the first place. That doesn’t change the past. Oncor’s primary concern is providing safe and reliable electricity, and the advance notice homeowners receive for planned maintenance isn’t possible following storms like the doozy in June (2nd worst in company history) — when crews from as far away as Missouri, Alabama, and (as mentioned) Iowa were at the ready to aid Oncor’s Herculean restoration efforts. It’s a clash of absolutes — aesthetics for an individual homeowner vs. essential service for the whole neighborhood. Hopefully we can have a respectful dialogue about ways to improve for the benefit of both sides.

  • Eric

    It’s hard to have a respectful dialogue when Oncor shows up with trimmers unannounced. That’s what happened to me near Colgate and Douglas. I did talk with the men doing the work and their instructions are to cut 10 feet in every direction from the HV lines (the highest lines). That meant that they butchered a beautiful Cedar Elm. I told them it is a very slow growing tree and they ignored me. They led me to understand that they used to cut to 5 feet but that the new rule was 10 feet. Presumably, a 10 foot cutback means they have to trim less often, thereby reducing costs. It seems to me we are trading the beauty of trees for cost reductions at Oncor.
    Most reasonable people understand that trimming is necessary and reliable delivery of electricity is important. But this trimming change to 10 feet has resulted in the butchering of some beautiful trees.
    My issue is with the lack of announcement and the new 10 foot “rule”. It would be interesting to find out if their right of way even extends 10 feet in any direction from their wires – I rather doubt it.

  • Peterk

    “I never saw Oncor trying to rid my property of squirrels (I would have paid them extra for that).”

    you don’t need Oncor to do that. just get yourself one of these

  • oncorvictim

    Every time I look at our formerly majestic Shumard red oak that was butchered by half when Oncor’s out of town arborist hacks came calling, I get tears in my eyes. It is so painful that I actually avoid looking up now in my back yard. Even with the “arborist” present on a rescheduled date, they cut off a good 40-45% of the 70+ year-old tree, beautiful and healthy. I think they engaged in retaliatory pruning, taking off huge portions of the tree, way more than necessary, because I insisted on having an arborist and was pretty irate. They cut off limb after limb that were more than a foot in diameter, all the while telling me how “conservative” they were being. The tree is unbalanced enough now that I worry about it falling on our house someday. They cut off 30-40 years of growth, not 5 or 10. They also do not observe correct trimming season to prevent spread of certain arborilogical fungus ailments, etc.

    You know that 10 foot clearance doesn’t just mean 10 feet above and around the line–it means all that PLUS 10 foor clearance in all directions to THE SKY. I feel they also reduced the value of my property. I wish there could be a class action lawsuit. I have pics of the “job” if you want to see.

    Man, I am about to cry even now, just thinking about that day.

  • Ronny Duggans

    Out of curioisty, why don’t you do what I did 5 years ago and pay the extra money to bury the power lines. It actually increases your property value and makes your beautiful backyard with the lopsided trees more aesthetically pleasing since you will not have wires bisecting your landscape.

  • cheryl

    Asplundh (Oncor’s tree butcher) came to my neighborhood in East Dallas at the end of July. The men who were cutting my neighbor’s trees dropped all of the branches into my backyard on top of my vegetable garden. There were no notices put out until they showed up & started cutting. No one could speak English until Alberto Torres showed up & told me it looked like my corn wasn’t vertical before the limbs were dropped on it & it looked like it had grown horizontally. He called me a liar for accusing his crew of destroying my garden. I had pictures & two neighbors for witnesses! Henry Galvan (Torres’ supervisor) showed up & told me that with the heat wave I was lucky the garden lasted as long as it did & there would be no compensation. Not only do they butcher our trees but they abuse the property owners and Oncor sits back & says, “Not my fault, not gonna comment, it’s those nasty contractors, can’t do a thing!” I left a message with Scott Lee at Oncor (he was described to me as the person to contact for a community liason) who has never returned my call. There was nothing “respectful” about the interaction my neighbors & I experienced with Oncor or Asplundh.

  • Eric

    Um, back to you Catherine…..

  • I was on the CBS news over my fight with Oncor for butchering my trees.

    Subject: Re: Oncor/Trees

    The piece is at put in SEARCH area: Dallas Homeowner say Oncor “butchered” his Trees

    Below is the Oncor contact for other citizens to voice their opinions.

    Mr.Allyn Giles
    Dallas Customer Operation Manager
    [email protected]
    fax 214.486.5012
    ph 214.486.2074


    Upon my recent return from vacation where I’m happy to say I got engaged, I walked in my back yard and became sick to my stomach. Oncor added three new poles were there use to be one. From my survey stake the poles are on my property. Oncor topped three of my favorite 40 plus year old, slow growing cedar trees and a Texas ash.

    Oncor cut the same trees May of 2007 for the required 10′ wire clearance and now you have cut them again to stubs. Thanks Oncor for the engagement present.

    My main points of contention are:

    1) Oncor placed three new telephone poles and from the survey steak the poles are out of their easement in my personal property.

    2) There was no notice sent to me of this work project.

    3) The over pruning was done in the severe heat of August which is the worst time to prune trees.

    4) It is recommended to never prune more than 20 – 30% of a tree canopy and they have cut out more than 70%.

    5) Oncor has no rules for species-specific pruning for slow growing trees.

    6) Oncor has damaged my personal property and has diminished the value of my property.

    7) Oncor cut more than the required 10′ clearance.

    I think the damage is not only the poles but the irreplaceable 40 plus year old slow growth cedar trees. Oncor has left a mess in my back yard with wires hanging down, branches everywhere and a damaged fence.

  • I am from Lake charles, LA, and I just got
    back from taking my granddaughter to school.
    As I was driving home, I couldn’t help but
    notice the “hack job” done on all of the
    tree’s whereever there were phone lines
    or electricity lines. I have never seen them
    cut so severely!! Our live oaks on my side
    of the street, have been halved, and I was
    wondering if a strong enough wind came, would
    my tree fall on our house! Not to mention
    what it has done to the beauty of the tree’s.
    And will the tree’s continue to live?
    My husband and I are just sick about this.
    Who can we contact, and can we do anything
    about it?