Middle Tennessee Electric turns to 'growth inhibitor' instead of trimming trees

tree growth regulator
Posted at 5:19 PM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 08:19:07-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It can be frustrating watching limbs of your trees get cut off, leaving behind an unsightly yard.

"I know no one likes it when we're trimming the trees, so this is kind of like a win, win," said Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator for Middle Tennessee Electric, Amy Byers.

That's why you may get a notice on your door about something called tree growth regulators, or TGR.

The clay-based growth inhibitor is used by Middle Tennessee Electric to slow the growth of trees near power lines.

"Basically, it just kind of tricks the trees into growing a little slower," said Byers. "It's not harmful for them at all; it wears off over time."

Amy Byers with Middle Tennessee Electric said the fluid is a preventative measure to keep trees from growing to the point where they need to be trimmed or pruned.

"Our goal is to provide electricity to our members and part of that — really, a critical part of that — is our tree program," said Byers.

By slowing the tree's growth, the goal is to protect power lines from overgrown trees and to protect workers who may need to respond in emergency situations.

"They may not necessarily be planted in the right of way, but as they grow, if they're going to be to where they can grow into the right of way, into the power lines, then that becomes another issue that we need to look at," said Byers.

But the clay-based growth inhibitor can slow the growth of vegetation surrounding the area, which is one reason residents have the choice to opt out.

According to Middle Tennessee Electric, TGRs are approved by the EPA and state agencies because they are considered safe for people, pets and wildlife.