It only occurs every 5 to 10 years. It’s highly unpredictable and can afflict any tree; the more mature they are, the more susceptible. When it hits, it happens fast and can be catastrophic. But it’s not a fungus, a disease or an insect.

It’s Oncore.

In the past few days, Oncore has been active in the Peaks Suburban neighborhood "trimming" trees away from power lines. Most of the work seems to have occurred along Swiss and Junius, from Fitzhugh towards town. The goal, we are told, is to keep tree limbs 10 feet from the lines. The basic problem stems from the fact that this area still has its power lines in the parkway in front of the houses.  That means we have two desirable but incompatible uses trying to share a very narrow strip of land. Oncore comes and "maintains" their lines only once in several years, so radical tree surgery on mature trees is almost guaranteed.

Compounding the problem is Oncore tree trimming techniques that are reminiscent of Medieval medical practices. The tree in the picture was a whole tree a few days ago. One of the neighbors asked the crew and was shown a book with diagrams with how to trim trees. The diagrams looked pretty much like the what you see on the street, Y-shaped and half trees. While it may be efficient, this practice leaves the trees disfigured and can even be dangerous to them. "Red Oaks and Live Oaks are susceptible to a condition known as Oak Leaf Wilt. One of the preventative steps to avoid the Wilt is to not prune these trees between February 1 and June 1" notes neighborhood resident and Dallas County Master Gardener Renee Manes.

If your street still has power lines, it looks like getting nearby trees trimmed every couple of years could be money well spent.

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