Aiken residents outraged after tree cutting along historic streets

CSRA News

AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – A group of local residents is outraged.  Some calling it a “slaughter” and a “hack-of-a-job” after subcontractors with a utility company cut several trees along streets in Aiken.

“And to see it so being shabbily treated now by a public utility is just more than I can comprehend,” Board member of the  Aiken Land Conservancy Rob Johnston told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk.

Johnston grew up in the All America City. “Back through the mid-50’s and through high school,” he said.

He remembers the landscape from years ago. “This was always such a beautiful urban forest I was so proud of,” he added.

Johnston and other citizens of the area grew concerned after a local utility company pruned some of the trees in the historic city. 

Sampson is the president of the Aiken Land Conservancy.  She says when looking at the trees along Colleton Avenue you can see the devastation.

“For these trees to live, their canopy is equal to the root base and they just slit the canopy in half,” she said.

Her group developed a public/private partnership with the City to care for area’s trees. “This has been 150 years in the making – this marvelous tree canopy – and part of it was destroyed in an hour,” Johnston said nearing tears.

“And they just decimated the trees,” a neighbor added.

A woman who lives around the corner from Colleton Avenue says her tree was on the list of trees cut by subcontractors. “They have taken out the entire top of the tree where that wasn’t necessary to have been done,” she added.

Just like Sampson and Johnston, she says a more selective cutting procedure should have been done. “They could have done a far less aggressive cut,” Joanna Sampson said.

According to SCE&G, the company follows the American National Standard for Tree Care Operations guidelines. “This method helps direct future growth away from power lines while leaving remaining limbs intact,” according to the company’s website.

“ANSI A300 trimming may appear drastic at first, but results in healthier trees long-term since fewer cuts are used. Affected areas callous quickly, reducing decay and allowing for future trimming that may be less noticeable,” the site added.

Johnston is concerned for the future of the area. “And if we allow it to continue, it’ll be gone forever,” he added.

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