They're losing their traditional shapes because of concerns over branches interfering with power lines.
Sarah Williams knows why contractors cut tree limbs away from overhead power lines, but she can't stand what's left behind. "It's ugly! It's really ugly! We bought the house 'cause we liked the shade!" Williams said as she laughed.
Durham's Urban Forestry manager tells Eyewitness News that Duke Energy has contractors make the cuts to avoid more frequent visits after storms.
Weather situations like ice storms or wind storms can bring down heavy parts of trees and leave city blocks in the dark. The company warned the Williams family in advance. "We got a letter that said they were going to cut our trees, because it said they were near power lines. And if they were going to get cut completely down they were gonna have a ribbon around them," Sarah Williams said.
Two days after carving away part of a tree next door to their home, the Williamses are still waiting for someone from Duke Energy, or the contractors to clear away the mess on their property.
After that, Sarah says she doubts the tree will have much life left. "I don't know how much longer the tree will last, with the drought and now, this!"