Has a tree in your landscape been struck by lightning?
Statistics show roughly 8 million lightning strikes occur each day. While most of them occur in rural areas, others occur in residential communities. When lightning strikes a tree, though, it can cause serious damage.
So, what should you do if a tree in your landscape has been struck by lightning?
Assess the Tree for Damage
First and foremost, you should assess the tree for damage.
Lightning, of course, is a powerful force of nature that can destroy otherwise hard objects, including trees.
The temperature of lightning is over 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit. With so much heat, it quickly converts any moisture within a tree into steam, resulting in an internal explosion.
Some trees will die immediately after being struck by lightning, while others may survive.
While keeping a safe distance – in case the tree falls – assess the tree for damage. Specifically, look to see where the lightning strike occurred and the extent to which it “split” open the tree.
If the lightning strike occurred at the base of the trunk, resulting in a large split through the middle, you’ll probably need to remove the tree. If the lightning strike occurred on one or two branches, on the other hand, you should be able to restore the tree.
Restoring a Tree Struck by Lightning
To restore a lightning-struck tree, you need to water it.
As previously mentioned, lightning strikes convert moisture within a tree into steam. The steam pressurizes inside the tree, which subsequently triggers an explosion.
If your tree only suffered minor damage from the lightning strike, you may be able to restore it – but you’ll need to give it plenty of water.
In addition to watering the lightning-struck tree, you should consider cutting down any damaged branches. As long as the trunk is left intact, removing the branches shouldn’t kill or otherwise seriously harm your tree.
Removing a Tree Struck by Lightning
If the lightning strike caused severe damage to the point where the tree is longer salvageable, you should remove it from your landscape.
Allowing dead or dying trees to go unnoticed creates a safety hazard for you and your family. As the tree begins to rot from the inside, it’s integrity will become compromised. Even it looks structurally sound, it may fall over.
By removing the lightning-struck tree, you can rest assured knowing that it won’t fall over. At the same time, you may be able to harvest the wood for firewood.
If we can help with any of your tree care needs give us a call at 512-846-2535 or 512-940-0799 or