What to Do About a Tree Struck By Lightning: Advice From the Experts
Each year, there are more than 3 billion lightning strikes across the globe. Some of those strikes are relatively harmless, while others can do serious harm to your home, your health, or your landscaping.
Believe it or not, the trees in your yard are often the most at-risk part of your property. If they’re struck by lightning, they can suffer serious damage and need extensive care to recover properly.
If you have a tree struck by lightning on your property, you need to act fast. Here are a few things you’ll need to take care of to best help your tree recover after the storm.
Don’t Rush to the Tree
Though it’s tempting to immediately rush outside to inspect the damage after lightning strikes, don’t. The electrical charge around the tree and in the ground can linger for a few moments. Worse, there’s always a chance that additional lightning strikes will happen on your property.
Unless the tree is on fire, wait until the storm is over to go outside and inspect the damage. Remember, lightning can strike in the same place twice, and the last thing you want to do is to put your safety at risk just because you’re worried about your tree.
If the tree is on fire, fell and is obstructing a roadway, or threatening the safety of your house, call the authorities for help. They’ll be able to safely deal with the tree so you and your family can stay safe.
Inspect the Lightning Damage
Just because a tree gets hit by lightning doesn’t mean it will suffer extensive damage. In fact, the tree may recover and grow like normal for decades to come. It all comes down to how bad the damage is.
Once the storm is over, walk around the trunk and see if you can see any visible issues.
Look for charred marks on the bark, shattered branches, and singed leaves. If you don’t see anything visible, it’s likely that the lightning only hit the ground near the tree.
Try to inspect the tree with a critical eye. If the majority of the canopy looks blackened or the tree seems extensively damaged, you may need to get it removed by a professional. However, if the majority of the tree looks healthy and unscathed, you may be able to bring it back to its former state.
Create a Maintenance Plan for the Tree Struck By Lightning
Damaged trees can recover if they get the right amount and type of care over time.
The best place to start is by watering the tree thoroughly. Make sure the soil around the roots is damp and monitor the soil condition every week. Cover the roots with a thick layer of mulch to protect them from further damage.
You may also want to establish a fertilization schedule to give the tree the extra nutrients it needs to heal from the lightning strike. If you’re familiar with your soil’s composition, you can do this on your own. If you’re not, consult an experienced arborist and get them to help you find the best solution for your tree.
You may also need to remove damaged limbs from the tree to speed its recovery further. Damaged limbs can put a strain on the tree’s vascular system.
The tree will try to send nutrients to those branches until it can’t do so anymore. That means fewer nutrients reach the parts of the tree that need them most.
By removing those damaged limbs, you’ll help signal to the tree that the rest of the branches deserve more attention. As an added bonus, getting rid of the dead growth will protect your property from further damage.
Dead growth can fall or break off even in minor storms. If the tree is close to your house or driveway, your property will be at risk. Removing them will help keep your property safe and in good condition.
Schedule a Professional Inspection
No matter what condition you think your tree is in, it’s always a good idea to schedule a professional inspection with your tree care company. They’ll be able to look at the damage and determine how severely the lightning strike is.
If they determine that the tree can survive and recover, they’ll help you figure out what to do to make that happen. However, if the tree won’t recover, they’ll be able to remove it for you.
When professionals remove trees, they take all the necessary precautions to make sure the rest of your property is safe. They control how the tree will fall and will do whatever they can do to minimize the impact that the removal has on the rest of your yard.
Start Looking for Ways to Prevent Future Strikes
Though lightning isn’t predictable, there are things you can do to reduce the chances of lightning hitting a tree. It just takes a bit of planning.
Consider installing lightning rods in a safe spot on your property. You can also install a copper cable system that will send lightning from the top of the tree to the ground where it will dissipate without hurting the tree itself.
There are options, but it’s best to work with your tree care company to find the best solutions for your property.
Do You Have a Tree Hit By Lightning on Your Property?
Dealing with a tree struck by lightning can be stressful. After all, your trees add value to your home and help make your landscaping more eye-catching.
If you have a tree that shows visible signs of lightning damage, keep this guide in mind. With a little care and effort, you’ll likely be able to bring the tree back to its normal growth patterns.
If the thought of dealing with a lightning damaged tree feels overwhelming or you’re not sure where to start, don’t wait. Schedule an appointment with our team and let us inspect the damage. We’ll create the proper plan to help speed your tree’s recovery.