Riverland Terrace neighbors stay home from work to babysit tree trimming

Riverland Terrace neighbors have decided on a new way to take the tree trimming problems into...
Riverland Terrace neighbors have decided on a new way to take the tree trimming problems into their own hands. (Source: Live 5 News)
Updated: Mar. 29, 2019 at 7:54 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -Some James Island homeowners say they are enjoying a day off after they say they’ve been babysitting the tree trimming being done in their neighborhood.

Riverland Terrace is home to hundreds of historic Grand Oak trees that are being routinely trimmed, but neighbors say the trimming has already been extreme in some parts of the area.

It’s quiet in Riverland Terrace on Fridays since SCE&G trimmers only work four-day weeks.

Neighbors say the other four days of the week, the sound of chainsaws echoes up and down the historic streets and that is what they are trying to stop. Now they say they’re taking a hands-on approach to that fight by sitting in the yards that are being trimmed.

The last week of March has included several hours of sitting for the Riverland neighbors who say they are taking time off from their daily lives to sit in each yard as the trimming is being done. They say less extreme sizes of pieces are cut when the trimmers are being watched.

“We had a group of ten neighbors that came out upon request of the neighbor,” Rena Lasch, a 13-year Riverland homeowner, says.

They say taking time off work and their lives is necessary in order to make sure the charm of their neighborhood isn’t sliced away branch by branch.

“The most important thing we’re trying to do is protect these old trees,” Lasch says. “Once you’ve done the damage you’ve done the damage it won’t recover.”

SCE&G acknowledged those staying home from work and gatherings saying, “We are always willing to meet with any customer/property owner to discuss trimming activity on trees in front of or near their property.”

The company also says they understand that people are frustrated, but released a statement showing that their practices are in line with those all across the country.

“It is important to note that our trimming standards and required clearances around our lines have not changed. Line clearing crews work on our system 52 weeks each year. Overgrown vegetation and tree limbs are the number one reason for power outages on our system and trimming on a routine cycle serves to protect the long-term health of the tree. We continue to follow nationally recognized, arborist approved standards. Each tree is different in structure, and our pruning practices take that into consideration. The trimming may or may not look exactly like the pervious trim cycle depending on a number of factors including dead or diseased limbs and growth closer to primary wiring than in previous cycles. Consequently, the appearance may also vary from tree to tree once the work is complete,” Paul Fischer, an SCE&G spokesperson says.

But homeowners say several of have set chairs up indefinitely to show they mean business.

“It may take months we are in for the long haul we aren’t going away,” Lasch says.

SCE&G says they will continue to follow the national trimming standards set by arborists for the 66 more miles of trimming they have left to do.

If you’re interested in having an SCE&G employee come to your house to personally show you what to expect when your yard is done, you can call 800 251-7234 to schedule a visit to review specific concerns.

Riverland Terrace homeowners also say if you’re interested in showing support, you can stop by any house with a “Save the trees” sign in the yard to learn how you can help.

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