Trees take on catastrophic damage when lightning hits. Lightning also hits trees surprisingly often. Trees attract the strike because they’re usually the highest point in urban and suburban areas, especially if they’re oak or poplar. When the lightning hits, it turns all of the liquid inside the tree into gas. Because a lot of your tree’s water is in the thin living layer near the surface of the trunk, all of that pressure makes the bark rip open.
What happens when lightning strikes a tree?
Lightning strikes always weaken the impacted tree. Approximately half are killed by the strike itself, and the remaining trees die during the following years because they can’t fight off disease. If you live in a region where lightning strikes are common or there are no taller structures than your trees, you have to protect them or let them take the risk during every storm.
How can you protect your trees?
If your trees have already been hit by lightning but they are still alive, give them plenty of water. The water running through their cells was turned into gas, and they’ll need a lot of water to replenish that loss. They also need additional water to start healing themselves.
You should also contact an arborist immediately. They can inspect your tree and create a plan to mitigate the worst of the damage. If the lightning hit a branch instead of the trunk, then removing the damaged wood can help set the tree on a course to recovery.
You can also protect your tree before the next storm. A tree management company can install copper cables at the top of your at-risk trees and ground them in a cleared area nearby. Arborists might also recommend installing a separate lightning rod if you have a lot of tall trees to protect.
Go to Chambersville Tree Farm for sturdy trees and the plants you need for a safer yard.