In the May issue of the Sac Osage Co-Op News on the back page is the Manager’s Column and in this issue he gives tips on where trees should be placed in relation to overhead utility lines. In the final paragraph we are cautioned about attempting to remove trees that are near power lines as amateur tree trimmers are sometimes injured or killed when trying to clear limbs near power lines. Call the right-of-way professionals at Sac Osage Electric for the job to be done safely and professionally.

But what happens after the tree is cut? A 60 foot Oak tree that is 36 inches in diameter at the base is a lot of tree to be left lying on the ground and entails quite a bit of clean up. But nothing to worry about for there are machines that will chip the small limbs and material and leave only the large sections that can be cut and split for fire wood.

When the bucket truck came out with the two man crew on Thursday, June 9, towing a chipper the only question asked of me was how high do you  want the stump and I replied as close to the ground as possible. Since they were towing a chipper behind the truck a person would think it is their intention to use the machine to clean up the small trash after cutting the tree. I will admit in my ignorance I did not inquire if they intended to use that chipper in the clean up. A short time later when I went back out to see how it was progressing the crew and truck were gone and the remains of the tree was lying on the ground around the stump which was left about five feet tall.

I called on the 10th to see if that was the extent of the clean up and the lady who answered the phone told me the trimmer did not work on Friday so I waited until Monday the 13th and tried again and my call was routed to Roger Culbertson who told me he would send someone out to look at the area but he doubted that a dead tree could be chipped so I informed him that a grounding cable had been dropped off the truck on the way out and it was about 100 fee long and was rolled up next to the drive way waiting for them. Well that sparked some interest and about 30 minutes later a pickup with two young men drove in and retrieved the cable and one of the two was the young man who was in the bucket doing the cutting on the past Thursday. When questioned as to why nothing was chipped they produced a printed work order on which it said that the homeowner would mange the clean up. Well, why wasn’t that spoke of before the job started: Then the man who did the cutting said that if they were going to chip the debris they would have cut it in a different manner. As it was they cut the larger limbs away from the trunk dropping them to the ground and dropped the main section of trunk in one section about 20 feet long.

My wife was the one who called in for the tree to be removed and she said that nothing was asked of her about any cleanup so I cannot say what was said by either party during the call. I find it very difficult to believe that a 82 year old  woman with an 86 year old husband and both under the care of a cardiologist at CMH would volunteer to clean up a tree of this size and cut in this manner.

On Wednesday the 15th I called and spoke with Jim Davis and he said he could meet with me about 3 p.m. Mr. Davis had one of his assistants present and they had a copy of the work order and were adamant that Mrs. Olinger agreed on the call to take care of the cleanup for their operators are experienced in obtaining those details. Now that is their story and they are sticking to it. I think their story is the best excuse they have out of a nasty situation.

Now Mr. Davis’s assistant said they have a contractor who uses a skidsteer and if the limbs were deposited down in the open area south in the pasture would I be open to burning it and I agreed as it looked as if it was the best option I had to get this mess out of my yard. On Wednesday the 22nd on returning home at 11:30 a.m. the area was clean and no sign of the remains anywhere and then a young man on a skidsteer drove up and when asked where the limbs were he told me he had been told to move it down into the grove of trees west of us so now I am back to square one. I’ve still got the junk on my property and in an area where I cannot burn it as it is piled in among more desirable trees.

I have learned one lesson, no matter who you are dealing with, always have a clear and complete understanding of what is to be done and who will do it. In the future I will not call Sac Osage about a tree that might endanger the power lines. I will let nature follow its course and if the worst happens it happens.

Bud Olinger

El Dorado Springs

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