TOWNSEND -- Twenty years ago, Townsend resident Karen DiStasio said she planted a tree in her front yard as a Father's Day gift to her husband. Last Thursday night, she came home to what she considers vandalism.

"I came home to a trimmed tree," she said. "They could have used a little discretion because this was our treasured tree."

Electric company Unitil has been doing routine trimming in Timberlee Park since May. The trimming is done every five years in order to keep tree growth from encroaching on power lines.

Unitil representative Alec O'Meara said the company hired a third-party contractor to do the cycle trimming in this part of town.

DiStasio said she was not notified in advance about the tree trimming.

"We wish they would have left us a note before they did this," she said "At least given us a chance to get an arborist."

O'Meara said the company met with the town's tree warden at the beginning of the year and went over the planned work and the schedules. The town later reviewed and approved it. He also said that 30 to 45 days prior to the tree-cutting Unitil leaves multiple door hangers on the homes they plan to work on.

"Even if the door hangers are missed, contractors chat with homeowners who see them working in the neighborhood about planned works," he said.

DiStasio said she's upset that the tree was trimmed so severely on one side.

"(Unitil) may have endangered the tree by opening it up to disease due to the extensive trimming," she said.


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She understands that the tree's overhanging branches might have been a public-safety hazard, but she wishes she had been notified before it was trimmed.

She called Unitil and they offered their apologies but told her trimming is up to the tree crew's discretion.

In the Board of Selectmen meeting on Tuesday, Selectman Sue Lisio, who is DiStasio's neighbor, said she had called Unitil and asked for the third-party contractor's phone number and their response was "Google it."

O'Meara said if customers have any concerns about a specific tree issue, they should call customer service at 888-301-7700.