Duke Energy uses chemical treatment on trees - myfoxcarolinas.com

Duke Energy uses chemical treatment on trees

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Charlotte, N.C. (WJZY) -- "We love this tree in our backyard. We hung a swing from it for our daughter," said Anjali Markey.

Anjali recently had a strange visitor come to her home in Dilworth.

"I was getting out of my car and a guy came up to me and asked me if I wanted my tree treated with a chemical that would stunt its growth," said Anjali.

She thought he was a lawn care salesman and turned him down. She had no idea he was part of a new program with Duke Energy.

Duke Energy spokeswoman Paige Layne says "A product we're evaluating is a tree growth product. It's more like a plant hormone - slows the growth of the tree so we wouldn't have to prune as often."

Duke energy is testing the waters right now - only applying the chemical in Plaza Midwood, Sedgefield, and Freedom Park. Folks in those areas say don't feel like they've been well-informed about the new chemical.

Victor Ahdieh is president of the Freedom Park Association. He says, "If something is stunting the growth of trees, what is it going to do to our flowers, vegetable gardens, we could have side effects due to this."

We talked to an arborist who uses the chemical - cambistat - about potential side effects.

Patrick George with Heartwood says "The only negative side effects we've experienced is if there's other plant material next to the tree being treated. It's safe properly applied. There are cautions, if you eat it, you have to call poison control, but it's not a hazard warning."

Patrick says the chemical is injected into the ground, so you would have to dig up the dirt to be exposed to it.

Duke Energy says if this new treatment is well received, it could cut your power bill.

"Any cost we're able to save, customers would realize that in rates they pay, but the only way this can be cost effective is for us to reduce amount of trimming we have to do," said Paige Layne.

Trimming trees costs a lot more than chemically treating them.

Patrick George says "A two-foot diameter willow oak will cost around $150 dollars to treat, to trim it, would cost around $700 dollars."

At the end of the day, homeowners have the say whether or not to treat their trees.

Anjali, the homeowner we met at the beginning, says "We love our tree, so I wasn't going to make a split second decision, so i said no, we're not interested."

We will add additional information shortly.
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