I thought I should add to my post below that the LA Department of Water and Power has more of a true safety issue than Street Services: they have to trim trees that come too close to high-power wires. The story they have repeated to me several times is that once a palm frond touched a high power wire and 25% of Glendale had no power for several hours. Well, ok, I can see that, even though the power goes out here at least once every year anyway, when there are strong winds on the towers, or hail. The wires make a big cracking sound just before they go out, and that is a warning to turn off your widescreen monitor and computer or tv quick, if you love them. We have power towers on this street – you can see one in my photo below of Two Birds- and the towers sizzle when rain hits them!
About 5 years ago we got a notice that they would be coming through to trim on a Saturday. (They often pick Saturdays; can’t call the city to complain then, can you?!) I called several supervisors at DWP on Friday to query them. Two guys told me (and I won’t embarrass them by naming them – THIS TIME), “I hate trees, and I wish there were none allowed near any wires.”
Now, I know that that is not true of all of LADWP, as they have a really wonderful program that gives away 7 sapling trees, with dozens of choices, to any address that wants them, so long as you attend one meeting on tree care. They even deliver them!
But it’s scary, nonetheless, to think that these guys work for the city. Anyway, they promised very minimal trimming. Instead, they plowed through and cut 25 feet off some trees. (The DWP subcontracted this work to Davey Tree Services. What does that tell you?!) The street looked like it had gotten a buzz cut. I was so angry at their broken promises that I kept calling until I got the actual DWP guidelines for trimming around high wires (don’t have the link in front of me), and it said it should be 10 feet, not 25 feet! They sent some supervisors over and offered to retrim the trees on our street. Little late, mates.
So THAT is why I have my own special DWP guy, Adrian, who is licensed, and comes to personally oversee the trees in front of our building.
If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. So ask for a licensed arborist.