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What Should I Do After My Tree is Struck by Lightning?

Lightning tends to strike the tallest object in the area, so trees often suffer damage from lightning during storms. While that can kill the tree, many of them survive, especially if their owner works to minimize the damage. Taking the right steps is vital, both to make sure that the tree suffers as little damage as possible and to make sure that the owner stays safe while they work.

Check For Danger

Safety should be your top priority. Naturally, you should wait until the storm stops before you go out and check on your tree. You also need to be careful about approaching the tree, since it is common for dead branches to fall without warning. A falling branch can easily do a lot of damage to a person, so you need to be careful.

Look at the tree from a distance to check for dangerous branches. If you can approach without exposing yourself to danger, do so and take a closer look. Always err on the side of caution if you are in doubt. It is better to be safe than sorry, and your health is far more important than saving the tree.

Assess The Damage

Checking for damage is the next step. In general, there are two broad outcomes when lightning strikes a tree. There can be relatively light damage, which normally happens when most of the water in the tree is near the bark. The tree will take a lot of superficial damage and have some scars, but the important parts that are on the inside of the tree should be safe.

Extreme damage usually occurs when the tree was already diseased or damage. That forces water to the interior of the tree, and the lightning goes where the water is. Explosions are common in this case, and large chunks of the tree will be damaged or missing. The trunk can split, and there will often be a lot of loose branches scattered around.

Decide Between Removal Or Treatment

Once you have examined the tree, you can decide what to do with it. Trees that have already died or are very unlikely to survive their damage should be removed as quickly as possible, since they can be a hazard to people in the area. Dead trees that are near living trees can also attract pests or transmit diseases that can damage the other specimens in the area.

Fortunately, most healthy trees can survive a lightning strike with a little bit of luck and care. If you want to save the tree, you should start caring for it as soon as possible. If you aren’t sure if you can save the tree, have an expert look at it as soon as possible to help you decide. The will look at a variety of factors to determine if the tree is likely to live or die, and how to deal with any problems that is has.

Take Action

If you are going to save your tree, you should give it a healthy dose of fertilizer and make sure it has enough water in the coming weeks. Your main job is to ensure that it has all of the resources that it needs to heal itself. You may also need to prune broken or damaged branches to make the tree safer, but you should do so sparingly. Excessive pruning will harm the tree.

You should get professionals to remove dead trees. While it is possible to handle it on your own, tree removal is one of the most difficult and dangerous tasks for people who work with trees. It is much safer to let someone with the experience handle it, since amateurs are likely to hurt themselves.

Monitor The Tree

Keep an eye on the tree for the next few months to make sure that it does not pick up any diseases or attract pests. Deal with those problems as they come, but otherwise leave the tree to recover in peace. They are remarkably tough, and most of the ones that can survive until the next spring are going to recover. All you can do is wait, so try to be patient!

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