SANDOWN — When Martin Cannard heard tree trimming outside of his home recently, he didn't think anything of it — until his 16-year-old son Sebastian alerted him that something was wrong. When Cannard saw the family's beloved 18-year-old Christmas tree in the front yard, he saw it had been shaven down beyond repair.

"The tree looked like it had a mullet," Cannard said of the tree, which had been cut by contractors with the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative. "It just seemed like a really odd thing to do."

The nearly 20-foot-tall tree was untouched at the crown, but all of its branches were removed in the front. According to Cannard, the top of the tree is about 10 to 15 feet lower than the powerline. 

Cannard contacted arborists for NHEC to find out why the tree was cut the way it was. 

According to Cannard, an arborist said the tree would have been cut differently if it were him, adding that trimming a few feet off of the top and some on the side would do.

Cannard called the company soon after the tree was trimmed to cut the tree down completely. 

He hopes there will be more consistency when cutting the trees close to power lines in the future, and if a tree needs to be completely cut, the owner should be notified. 


"I get that the damage is done and you can't put the tree back together," Cannard said, "but just some acknowledgement that they (NHEC) messed up and perhaps making sure this type of thing doesn't get repeated would be nice."

NHEC Communications Administrator Seth Wheeler said the company has a 30 foot right away (15 feet on either side) of a tree to cut its branches if it extends into the easement zone.

In Cannard's case, Wheeler said the contractor made the decision to side cut the tree because he was concerned the tree would grow up into the power line.

Although admittedly not an expert on the matter, Wheeler said his guess for why the tree was not trimmed at the top because it might not have extended into the 15 foot zone. Wheeler said the company regrets the fact that Cannard is displeased with the job done by the contractors.

According to Wheeler, owners of trees that are planning to be cut in the right of way are notified with an automated phone call.

"We try to provide as much notice as we can," Wheeler said. 

Cannard said aside from the call from the arborist, he has had no other communication with NHEC. 

To avoid being in the same position in 15 years, Cannard said he will not be replanting a Christmas tree but will instead plant other trees or shrubs in its place to create a smaller footprint. 

Cannard said the tree was planted in the front yard by a previous family.


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