Caterpillar-damaged trees removed by Eversource

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Drive around the state and you may be seeing tree crews in action.

Many of them, contractors for Eversource Connecticut, are trimming trees damaged by the voracious appetites of gypsy moth caterpillars.

“Because of the year after year damage from the caterpillars of the gypsy moth we are starting to see more and more of the oak trees not coming back, not growing back, and actually dying,” said Sean Redding, an arborist with Eversource Connecticut.

The power company says the tree trimming is being done six days a week.

(Photo: Tina Detelj/WTNH)

The gypsy moth caterpillars plagued many trees and homeowners in eastern Connecticut. Last year’s spring fungus stopped many in their tracks, so this year wasn’t as bad in some areas, but the damage was done.

“What they do is they eat the same trees over and over again which causes defoliation and then trees can’t respond back by putting out new leaves,” said Redding.

Tree crews are now trimming those dead trees to make sure the power lines are clear of the overhanging hazards.

Eversource has about 17,000 miles of the overhead electric lines, and each year, they inspect and trim trees along what would be equal to about a quarter of that distance.

“I think that’s helpful definitely for the future because power outages are kind of annoying,” said Emily Corderre of Waterford. “So it’s going to be helpful for the future.”

Arborists with the power company work with the DEEP and local tree wardens in the 149 towns they serve to identify trouble spots and it’s not only caterpillars causing concern.

“It’s also the emerald ash borer which is a beetle attacking the ash trees,” explained Redding. “We’re just coming off off several drought years and then we had the nor’easter and the tornadoes earlier this year.

This year’s tree trimming budget is a little bigger, adding up to an $80 million investment.

“The whole idea is to reduce outages, reduce the amount of customers affected,” said Redding.

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