A Partnership of UConn and Eversource

Eversource Energy Center


Did You Know?

Mapping Tree Risk

  • Connecticut ranks 13 in the nation in terms of percent forest cover and fourth in terms of population density.
  • Fifty-five percent of Connecticut is currently considered forest and an additional 20 percent of Connecticut is covered by urban tree canopies. 
  • Trees growing in wetlands, rocky or shallow soils have shallow roots and are prone to uprooting.
  • Trees in rocky or shallow soils have shallow roots and are prone to uprooting.
  • The forests in Connecticut today began growing in the late nineteenth century after agricultural land was abandoned and large-scale charcoal production ceased.
  • Connecticut’s forest today is taller, more expansive, and more mature than it was at the time when much of today’s utility infrastructure was built.
  • Forest cover has greatly expanded in Connecticut over the past 100 years in a largely unmanaged manner, resulting in many cases in tall thin trees.
  • New or recently trimmed forest edges may be less stable until the newly exposed trees adjust to the greater wind exposure.
  • Eversource trims around all power lines in its service area once every four years.

Roadside Tree & Forest Management

  • The typical life spans for different common tree species in Connecticut vary dramatically, from as few as 50 to as long as 500 years.
  • When trees grow they add another layer of wood each year to the entire outer surface of the tree, trunk, limbs and branches, just beneath the bark.
  • Tree size is not a reliable indicator of age. Most forest stands in Connecticut are considered even-aged, with many small trees in a stand often about the same age as the larger trees.
  • Ninety percent of all power outages during storm events are related to trees.
  • Roadside woods and forests provide an important stormwater control service.
  • Good quality oak timber from Connecticut is highly valued around the world.
  • When a saw blade passes through a log, the space left behind is referred to as kerf. It is the thickness of the pathway cut by the saw and is the portion of the log that becomes sawdust.
  • The root system of a tree typically extends much farther than the branches.
  • Eversource Energy and UConn work closely with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, the US Forest Service, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and other partners on phases of this research. Eleven sites around the state have been selected to be part of Stormwise forest management research and demonstration areas.

Trees & People

  • ‘Human dimensions of natural resources’ is a social science focused on understanding why people make the decisions they do about natural resources, such as trees, water, and wildlife.  It also explores the characteristics that influence those decisions, such as psychological variables, social, cultural, and environmental influences, motivations for and satisfaction with experiences, and sociodemographics.
  • Risk perception is a personal intuitive judgement as opposed to a technical or scientific assessment about risk.  People tend to take a cautious approach toward risks that are likely to involve gain, but gamble toward risks that are likely to involve loss.
  • In the context of this research, values are defined as guiding ethical and moral principles that people use when making decisions. 
  • Although values are influenced by an individual’s natural, social, and cultural environment, recent research suggests that certain values are embraced cross-culturally around the globe. 
  • Examples include tradition (respect and commitment to customs and ideas), self-direction (independent thought and action), and benevolence (interest in the welfare of people).  Reference: Strutch, N., S.H. Schwartz, and W.A. van der Kloot. 2002. Meanings of basic values for women and men: a cross-cultural analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 28:16-28.

Wind & Trees

  • Connecticut ranks thirteenth in the nation in terms of percent forest cover and fourth in terms of population density.
  • Fifty-five percent of Connecticut is currently covered by forest.
  • Trees in wetlands, rocky or shallow soils have shallow roots and are more susceptible to uprooting.
  • Trees grown in unmanaged forest conditions tend to be tall and slender and susceptible to damage when exposed to wind.
  • Trees in a forest are sheltered by neighboring trees and typically have less wind exposure than open grown trees.
  • Trees along a forest edge are unsheltered and have high potential for wind exposure.
  • Trees along a new or recently trimmed forest edge may be less stable until they adjust to the increased wind exposure.
  • Trees along a forest edge grow toward the open space and so tend to have severe leans and lopsided crowns with reduced stability.
  • Compared to trees that are grown in crowded conditions, trees that have room will grow larger trunks and symmetrical crowns which improves stability and wind resistance.
  • The form of a tree can affect its stability – leans or lopsided crowns make a tree less storm-resistant.

Stormwise Your Home

  • Proactive management of roadside trees and forests can make trees more resistant to storm damage while retaining the quintessential New England landscape. Our Stormwise program is reducing the risk of tree-related storm damage to power lines.
  • Trees that stand alone develop a rounder, bushier shape with spreading branches and thicker trunks and are less prone to wind damage.
  • Wounds to trees never actually heal. Instead, trees compartmentalize wounds, sealing off the wounded area with protective plant tissues from above and below, and from the inside and with bark on the outside. During the growing season, a healthy tree will begin to grow new wood over a wound from the outside. However, the damaged portion will remain inside the tree for the remainder of its life.
  • Although commonly seen in landscaping, a thick pile of mulch around the trunk and base of a tree is not good for a tree. A thin layer of mulch to control weeds will not cause harm to the tree, but is not necessary. In addition, burying roots too deeply will stress a tree.
  • Healthy trees depend on healthy roots. Soil compaction, excessive lawn fertilizers and pesticides, and wounds from trimmers and mowers can all result in stress to your favorite shade tree.
  • The organic chemical compounds that create foliage colors during the fall are present in leaves throughout the growing season, but are overshadowed by green chlorophyll during the summer. As the chlorophyll fades at the end of the season, the colors of other compounds in the leaves become visible for a time.
  • White oak acorns form, mature, drop from the tree, and germinate all in one growing season. Red oak acorns are unique in that they require two growing seasons.
  • Ash trees are members of the olive family. Historically, baseball bats have been made of ash. Maple bats also have become popular during the past 20 years.
  • Emerald ash borer is a non-native insect pest, now present in Connecticut and expected to kill many ash trees over the next few years. There are many pests that are currently invading our trees and forests, and proper management can help reduce the severity of many pest species. Contact your local tree warden for more information.
  • Bowling pins, and many other products, are made of sugar maple, also known as hard maple.
  • Barrels used for wine and liquor fermentation are often made of oak.
  • Roughly 40 gallons of maple sap are required to produce one gallon of maple syrup.

Eversource Energy Center | Innovation Partnership Building: 159 Discovery Drive, Unit 5276, Storrs, CT 06269-5276 | E-Mail: eversourceenergycenter@uconn.edu