Tree Worx tree struck by lightning

What to do When a Tree is Struck by Lightning

A tree struck by lightning occurs more often than you think. Each year, over 100 lightning strikes every second. Therefore, it’s a good chance that your tree could get struck by lightning. Lightning is undeniably one of the biggest threats to enormous trees. Being the highest object around an open space makes a tree a natural lightning rod in adverse weather. Surprisingly, there are records of trees struck by lightning in sunny weather.

During the springtime and summertime, lightning strikes are more widespread. While not all trees draw lightning, you must know how to evaluate lightning damage just if your tree does get hit.


A Tree Struck by Lightning: What Do You Do?

When lightning hits a tree, the tree feels the force immediately. The second it hits, it changes the tree’s water into gas, making its bark burst. This aftermath is disastrous, with over half of the trees struck by a lightning bolt dying instantly. The other half suffer severe damage, making them susceptible to diseases. The most common tree types to get hit by lightning are pine, poplar, gum, oak, and maple. 


Assessing the Damage

When lightning hits a tree, there are a few potential effects: The tree suffers no damage, it experiences injury but lives with nothing but a scar, or it perishes. The storage spot for a tree’s water is right beneath the bark. Because water is an excellent electrical conductor, the lightning strike will breach the tree’s outer layers and destroy them. Lightning blasts will usually mutilate a tree.

There are instances when substantial rain soaks the tree’s exterior. When this occurs, there’s a possibility that the lightning will fall around the tree, leaving it somewhat unharmed. 

Dying trees, particularly ones with a previously damaged structure, will usually have a few bad spots due to some disease. Since these trees have a significant amount of their water content concentrated deep-rooted in their trunk, the lightning hit could completely seep into the center, destroying the tree. This action may create a mighty explosion that will have tree limbs flying. It could also crack the trunk into two.


After Lightning Strikes Your Tree

Before you examine the tree, you should know that there might still be some electric charge in the blast area’s proximity. After lightning hits, don’t touch the tree right away. Allow a couple of minutes to pass, then assess the tree and the damage.

Tree Worx care for tree struck by lightning
An Otherwise Healthy Tree with Lightning Damage

Don’t approach the tree immediately. Allow some time to pass, then evaluate any harm it got due to the lightning strike.

The first thing you should do when performing treatment on a damaged tree is to give it a substantial amount of water. You should also apply some fertilizer to encourage new growth.

Damaged trees that last until the springtime will probably recuperate from a lightning strike. Keep in mind that while broken limbs and scarred barks are small problems, you should periodically inspect your tree and ensure the damage isn’t spreading. 

Another way that you could save your hit tree is to prune the broken limbs. Though, here’s a word to the wise: don’t do any extensive pruning until 12 months or more after the lightning strike.

You must remove trees that have suffered widespread, permanent damage, especially if the damaged trees are close to healthy trees. Leaving them in your yard could produce dangers that affect your healthy trees. Talk with a tree removal team member to assist you with eliminating the damaged tree.

To stop lightning from destroying your trees, you should think about using a lightning protection unit. Put the system in the ground a couple of feet away from the tree and attach the copper cables to the tree’s upper limbs. When the lightning hits, the electricity will go to the cable assembly, leaving your tree uninjured. 

If lightning hits your tree, get in touch with us at Tree Worx. Our experts will help you come up with a viable solution.