We have some intense storms in Texas. When those summer monsoons hit, lightning often hits trees. Lightning strikes can cause a great amount of damage to the tree. Depending on the harm the lightning caused to the tree, the tree may need to be removed, but it still may be able to survive. There are a number of factors that can help you decide if you should remove the tree or you should try to save it.
Visible Damage to the Tree
In our last blog, we discussed how a cracked trunk showed serious lightning damage and the tree should be removed. But, there are other visible signs of lightning damage. If the lightning directly hits the tree, the electricity will travel down the trunk and into the roots of the tree. This current of electricity beneath the bark creates so much energy that bark often explodes off the tree. This will leave large, vertical stripes of wounds on the tree. If there are a great number of wounds, the tree may not be able to survive and should be removed.
Proximity of Lightning Strike
If a lightning bolt strikes close to a tree but does not hit the tree directly, the tree is much more likely to survive. However, electricity can travel through the moisture in the ground and still damage the roots. If the roots are damaged, a strong wind gust may simply uproot a tree and it will fall during the next storm. If you notice dying branches and premature yellowing of leaves, this is a sign that the roots are damaged and the tree will likely die. Consult an expert if you’re not certain you’re seeing these signs.
Species of Tree
Certain species of trees are able to sustain lightning better than other trees. In our experience, evergreen trees such as Pine and Conifers are usually unable to recover from a lightning strike. They often die or become susceptible to wood boring insects. If a softwood is struck by lightning, it should be removed. Hardwood species, such as Oak or Maple, are much more likely to survive.
It is very difficult to know if a tree that has been struck by lightning can survive. If a tree has been struck by lightning, make sure that you have an arborist look at it. An arborist can help you understand if the tree should be removed or if it could survive. He or she can also work with you to figure out a care plan so that your tree has a better chance of surviving. Through proper pruning and fertilization, a lightning struck tree is much more likely to live a long, healthy life. Tree trimming can help remove any branches that are split from a tree and could damage property in a later storm.
A tree that is struck by lightning is much more likely to fall during a storm. It often cannot handle the extra stress of the storm, because its roots are often weakened. If you think that your tree can survive, make sure that you have a contact number for emergency storm damage services in case the tree falls in the future.