What to Do When Lightning Strikes Your Tree

By: albertaarb - August 12, 2015

 

The recent forest fires plaguing British Columbia offers a stark lesson on the importance of taking care of a tree that has been struck by lightning. The spring and summer seasons bring months of thunderstorm activity, which also increases the frequency of devastating strikes. In particular, when conditions are dry and thunderclouds roam, lightning can turn trees into tinder, which causes many of the worst forest fires in Canada.

 

Trees respond to lightning strikes similar to humans, roasting on the inside and leaving a scar on the surface. For trees, sap boils along the path of the strike, generating internal pressure through steam evaporation, ripping the tree apart from the inside out.

What to do When Lightning Strikes

 

First of all, before deciding on a course of action to take after lightning strikes your tree, make sure you wait indoors until the threat of further electric discharges pass. The popular saying that lightning never strikes the same place twice is simply a myth, and exiting your home or office in the middle of a storm, even after a direct hit, risks making yourself a target for another lightning strike.

 

Often, a lightning strike leaves some sort of obvious physical trace, whether it burns through the bark or the tree being ripped in half. Sometimes, the damage ends up revealing itself as a section of bark that has been stripped away without any other apparent reason.

 

If you suspect your tree has been struck by lightning, wait until the danger passes before performing an inspection of the damage, assuming that the strike didn't leave catastrophic damage to the tree.

Choosing a Course of Action

 

Trees are capable of surviving much of the worst that nature and humanity puts them through. However, if your tree has been irreversibly damaged by a lightning strike, it's important to consider the best course of action to take to remedy the situation.

 

Stripped bark or a damaged limbs aren’t a huge issue, but if the damage appears worse, it's important to make sure that the tree isn't dying. Dead and dying trees need to be removed from the property, especially if adjacent to trees that are healthy and alive.

 

Dead trees act as terrific kindling that can ignite a forest fire and even act as a host to spread arboreal threats such as the mountain pine beetle, which prefers old growth pines and are capable of spreading destruction throughout much of Canada.

Hire a Tree Removal Expert to Get Rid of Trees Hit by Lightning 

If your tree has been irreversibly damaged by a lightning strike, you should hire a tree removal expert to remove damaged trees. At Alberta Arborists, we have helped countless people get rid of trees damaged by lightning safely and efficiently, and we can help you, too. Our highly experienced arborists are trained to deal with any tree removal in any location and to ensure no damage is done to your property.

 

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation estimate of your job, and save your money, time (and body) from taking care of the tree removal yourself.

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