What Are The Options For A Lightning Hit Tree?

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Lightning strikes to a tree on your property can result in major damage. Determining what to do with the tree following the strike can be a challenge.

Is All Lightning Damage Obvious?

Lightning damage on trees can vary greatly in severity, and not all lightning damage is immediately noticeable. Common signs that a tree has been struck by lightning include a missing strip of bark running down one side of the tree, burnt or scorched areas on the tree, or extensive wilt and leaf loss without other causes like pests or disease. Strikes that don't cause immediate visible damage may not make themselves known for several weeks, then wilt and leaf or bark loss may occur. 

When Should the Tree Be Removed?

Many trees are able to recover from a lightning strike if given enough time, so you may want to hold off on removal until the following growing season to see if the tree recovers. The only exception is if the tree poses an immediate hazard, such as one that suffered sufficient damage that it is likely to blow down or drop dangerously large branches during the next storm that rolls through.

Does the Whole Tree Require Removal?

Sometimes the tree can be saved with the help of heavy pruning or partial removal. For example, if a tree with more than one trunk only suffers lightning damage to one of the trunks, your tree service may be able to prune away the affected trunk and thin out the crown on the remaining trunk so that the tree can survive. Assessment will be necessary to determine if any of the tree can be successfully saved following lightning damage.

Is It Dangerous to Leave the Tree In Place?

Lightning damage doesn't immediately mean that a tree is dangerous. If you want to try and save the tree, it will need to be assessed by a professional. They may recommend removing branches that suffered the brunt of the strike to ensure they don't fall over. The tree service can also assess the root system and trunk to ensure there is minimal risk of the tree toppling over. It may be necessary to temporarily stake the tree to help anchor it as it recovers, as well.

 Are Lightning Survivors More Prone to Tree Pests?

Damage from lightning, even minor damage, can temporarily weaken a tree. This may make it more prone to infection from tree diseases or pests. If the tree is of a variety that is naturally more prone to disease or pest infestations, then it may be better to remove it completely as it will likely have trouble recovering.

Contact residential tree removal services to determine if you need a residential tree removal solution for your lightning-damaged tree.