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What To Do If Your Tree Is Struck By Lightning

Lightning is undoubtedly the most dramatic threat to your trees. Every year, thousands of trees across the country get struck by lightning. When lightning hits a tree, the tree’s moisture immediately turns into gas, causing the tree to explode. This can be disastrous; 50% of the trees struck by lightning die immediately. Those that survive suffer catastrophic damage, which makes them more vulnerable to disease. While not every tree is a target for lightning, it’s important that you know what to do if lightning does hit your tree.  For professional help you can always contact the tree care experts in Elgin.

Not all trees are equal when it comes to lightning. First of all, it will be the tallest tree in the neighborhood that gets hit. Short trees are not likely targets.

Some species of trees are more prone to lightning. These include:

Oak

Pine

Gum

Poplar

Maple

For some reason, beech and birch trees rarely get hit by lightning.

When a tree is struck by lightning, there are three possibilities; the tree is not damaged, the tree is damaged but survives, or the tree dies.

What To Do if Lightning Hits Your Tree

First of all, there may be a residual electric charge in the area around the tree; do not immediately approach your tree. Wait at least a few minutes before attempting to assess the damage.

The first thing you should do is give your tree a very generous watering. Also, give it some fertilizer to help it heal and to stimulate new growth.

While broken branches and scarred bark may seem minor, you must check for additional damage periodically. Trees that have been struck by lightning are far more vulnerable to disease and pests.

You can also help your lightning struck tree by cutting off any broken branches and damaged wood. However, don’t do any extensive pruning for a year after the lightning strike. The tree care experts in Elgin can help you assess the damage, and trim off any damaged branches.

Trees that were damaged by lightning that survive through the next spring are most likely to fully recover. Unfortunately, if your tree has suffered irreparable lightning damage, it will need to be removed. Leaving a severely damaged tree standing can often cause threats to your healthy trees, such as the spread of pests or disease. A lightning-struck tree that dies can also pose a threat by falling over onto your property, or that of your neighbors. If your lightning struck tree seems beyond hope, consult with the tree care experts in Elgin. They can help you decide if the tree needs to be removed, and proceed with the removal is that’s what needs to be done.

Protecting Your Trees Against Lightning

If you’re very concerned about lightning striking your trees, you might consider a lightning protection system. This involves attaching copper cables to the uppermost branches of the tree, and grounding the wire a few feet away from the tree. If lightning strikes, the electrical charge will go through the cable and into the ground, leaving your tree unharmed. This may be an expensive and complex project, but it may be well worth it if you love your trees.

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