Unsolicited trimming leaves some angry

They massacred the trees. These are the words of one Milan Township resident after a tree-trimming service, contracted by Buckeye CableSystem, hacked off the thick branches of 50-year-old trees lining her River Road property.
Courtney Astolfi
Sep 8, 2013
Kim Ney has lived at her old farmhouse with her husband, Bill Ney, since 2007, but this is the first time they’ve encountered treetrimming of this scale.

“When they were done, half of each tree was laying in our yard,” she said. “One tree was three cuts away from just being a trunk.”

Ney said no one from Buckeye CableSystem, or the contractor, notified her ahead of time about the trimming.

Additionally, after she filed a complaint with Buckeye CableSystem, she said employees there told her the company was allowed to trim the branches because the company is considered a public utility.

More than anything, perhaps, the Neys are upset by the excessive nature of the trimming.

Buckeye CableSystem representatives said they encounter these types of complaints regularly.

“I understand they’re not happy with the way it looks, but the problem for us is it’s a safety issue,” said Brian Woodrow, Buckeye CableSystem’s senior operations manager for construction. “We send the (tree-trimming) company out there and say, ‘Clear the line from point A to point B.’”

Buckeye CableSystem representatives said the treetrimming companies they hire are supposed to notify residents of the trimming if it appears someone is home, although that’s not required in all circumstances.

“We heard this cutting sound,” Ney said. “I went outside and asked, ‘What the heck are you doing?’ They didn’t even have the courtesy to come to the door and say they were going to be cutting.”

In this case, Ney said, the trimmers gave no notification of their plans — they simply began chopping away.

Ney said Buckeye CableSystem employees told her that, because it’s a public utility company, they are allowed to access the easements to alter trees or other obstructions interfering with utility lines.

“Because we provide phone and Internet service, we have a responsibility to keep those lines active,” said Patrick Deville, president of Erie County Cablevision, which operates as Buckeye CableSystem. “People need lines of communication.”

Some of Buckeye CableSystem’s services have aspects of “public utilities,” Deville said, adding the company is authorized by the state to address any obstructions in the utility’s right-of-way.

As for the excessive nature of the pruning, Woodrow said the standard clearance distance is 6 to 8 feet away from power or cable lines.

“They cut our middle tree down 12 feet,” Ney said.

Said Woodrow: “Some of those branches are good-sized. If you cut them off, you’re just going to have a stub. So they give it a clean cut at the trunk.”

Ney, who is the wife of Sandusky Register circulation manager Bill Ney, is not so convinced.

“The new line didn’t even hang down at all,” she said. “They attached it right to the existing line.”

Woodrow said the extra length that was trimmed away will ensure equipment used to install the new line doesn’t become entangled in branches.



That was pole to pole or pole to residential/commercial box, above ground. Burial is usually a bit more, depending on existing easements and utilities.


The tree trimming service utilized for the pictures above is Extreme Tree Service out of Toledo, contracted by Buckeye Cablesystem.


An final addendum to my previous thought of "self-pay"...that final figure could then be assessed to our bills and spread out over "X" period of time and if necessary...carried over to the next owner of the property. Does this or does it not make sense?


Same thing happened to us. We were having lunch when we heard something going on outside. We looked out the window and saw someone sawing a large limb out of a tree. The least they could do is inform you what they intend to do. Don't just go onto someones property and start chopping.


Rather than have these horrible looking trees in our front yards they should just take the whole tree down. That's what you need to demand. I'd say if you are going to take more of a few branchs than remove the whole tree. People should demand that the tree trimming company return and remove the rest of the trees when they have already cut 50%. I'll guarantee they'll be a little more careful in the future. Sometimes reverse pschology can bring better results.


Have you seen the tree sculptures at the OVH and elsewhere? It is the perfect solution for both sides. Granted, the huge old trees are beautiful, but times have changed, BOZE, and leaving something else that's a testament to the carver's gift, is better than wasting God's gift of nature.


AEP actually put "a notice of intent" on my door letting me know they were going to trim them. I called the number that they had listed and asked them to cut them down instead because I knew there would be no great look to them afterwards. I them picked up some dwarf trees and planted them.

I imagine that if the power lines came down from tree limbs in a storm that some of you would be complaining as well.


Public relations is everything to a company. In this case Buckeye Cablesystem hires a tree trimming company to prevent downed lines in case of a storm. The company does the job BUT in the process they use very poor customer relations skills in dealing with Buckeye Cablesystem customers in how they deal with their complaints. Who gets hurt???? Not the tree cutting company they are out of towners anyway they have no vested interest in this community for business.

This newspaper article is good proof that this PR is NOT good for Buckeye Cablesystem.

Answer.....Buckeye Cablesystem tells the tree cutting company deal with upset residents politely and refer them to us. You deal with them the opposite and we will no longer use your company to trim the trees.

Bottom line the ball here is in Buckeye Cablesystem's court....they can solve a PR probelm and work to keep good relations with customers OR they can just see more articles negative to them on the front page of the SR.

If I was head of Buckeye Cablesystem I would still get my lines clear of tree limbs that interupt service BUT !!!! I would make it cyrstal clear to the tree trimming company to clean up your act / attitude FAST or you will no longer have a contract with us.


reading signs,
A very good idea. I'd have them leave a sizable stump above ground and pay to have the stump sculptured to my liking.


Who taught these tree people how to properly trim trees? There is a proper way to trim trees called crown reduction. Electrical power lines require more intense trimming but cable TV and phone lines require less drastic trimming.

Besides crown reduction trimming, there is a proper way for "directional trimming" to help ensure the tree will stay healthy.

Looking at the butchered tree photos with the tops of the main leader of the trunk cut horizontally, future rot will set in. Hopefully the trees will not fall onto a person or vehicle in the road.

BTW, why do people top their trees instead of proper crown reduction methods? Topping of trees only encourages suckers to grow and the tree later looks like a large bush instead of a tree.


Come on, folks . . . you know this is all about Buckeye Cable saving costs, both current and future.

Current cost savings: Buckeye Cable wants the tree trimming to be done at the least cost possible to them, so they accept the lowest bid from a company who saves money by cutting, not trimming. Think of it this way: a Barber can do a buzz cut haircut in half the time as a regular trim. Same with cutting trees vs. trimming trees. Easier & faster to cut vs. trim.

Future cost savings: By having a tree company cut more than the minimum clearance length, Buckeye Cable helps to prolong the time until the next trimming, provided the tree survives the shock of the extreme cutting, and also the cut job increases the likelihood the tree will simply not recover, and no future cutting will then be needed or required as the tree will simply die.