When it comes to AEP Ohio injecting soil around trees near power lines with a chemical to stunt their growth, the city of Hillsboro has said thanks, but no thanks.
Mayor Drew Hastings said Friday he instructed administrative assistant Debbie Sansone to send an email to the AEP Ohio official who coordinates the program in this region telling the company that Hillsboro is declining to allow the soil injection.
The Times-Gazette reported Thursday that the mayor was wary of the practice after talking with local arborist Richard Cundiff. By Friday, Hastings said he had decided against allowing the injections to happen here.
“There was just no upside,” said the mayor.
On Wednesday, Cundiff told The Times-Gazette that AEP’s effort to artificially retard tree growth “only benefits them” so the company has to do less tree trimming. He said his company never uses chemicals, instead using alternatives such as organic methods when necessary.
Cundiff said homeowners “should have the right to decide what’s put into their property.” He added, “We need to get off this toxic treadmill.”
Delores Adams, Chillicothe forester for AEP Ohio, told the city that that the company uses Edko Vegetation Managers to administer the soil injection.
“Edko is a vendor that works for AEP doing Tree Growth Regulators, which is a soil injection at the base of a large tree that slows the growth and makes the tree leaves grow more compact and they only treat trees which grow quickly into the power lines,” wrote Adams in an email to city officials. “It does not hurt the tree/trees it only helps them to grow more compact and at a slower rate.”
Adams later told The Times-Gazette that AEP’s concern is for safety. She said tree trimming cannot be done often enough to completely control all the danger areas, and she is concerned with the safety of children, particularly in the Shaffer Park area. But she said that if the city opposes the practice, it would not happen here.
Zack Murray, district manager for Edko, the company that administers the injections, told The Times-Gazette that the company uses ArborLock, a chemical made by the Davey company. ArborLock is a tree growth regulator (TGR) that slows tree canopy growth on average from 40% to 60%, according to the company website. “Trees treated with ArborLock 2SC may also have a darker green appearance to the foliage,” the company says.
Murray said some Hillsboro neighborhoods were due for treatment in the “near future.” But Sansone, the mayor’s assistant, said Friday that Hastings’ notification to AEP will put an end to the company’s plans to use the product here.
Hastings said earlier that AEP can control tree growth as it has historically done. “If we don’t do this, they just have to trim the trees as they have always done,” he said.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.