Arborists In Pittsburgh, PA Want To Help If Your Tree Was Struck By Lightning
What Happens When Lightning Strikes A Tree
Lightning occurs when ice particles in storm clouds collide, building up an electrical charge. Things on the ground, particularly tall trees, buildings, and structures, can also build up an electrical charge. When the charge from the clouds comes down to connect with the charge on the ground, there is a sudden, powerful flow of electric current, resulting in a bright flash. This is what is known as a lightning strike.
Lightning strikes are very common in the United States and around the world. Your home and the trees on your property may be periodically struck. Here’s what to do if your tree gets hit by lightning.
Learn To Recognize Tree Damage Caused By Lightning
When lightning strikes a tree, the electricity instantly heats any moisture within the tree. Lightning bolts can get as hot as 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit! The heat and electric sparks often result in fire, which can totally destroy a tree.
The force of the lightning strike often splits a tree in half or breaks off several boughs. Sometimes it will appear as if the tree has exploded; this is a result of the rapid heating and expanding of the tree’s moisture cells, which are typically found right beneath the bark.
Occasionally, a tree will escape damage completely if it is totally soaked by rainwater. Electricity always chooses the path of least resistance, so instead of penetrating the tree, it may flow through the water down the outside of the tree and into the ground.
The amount of tree damage caused by lightning depends a lot on the location of the tree, what type of tree it is, and the specifics of its environment.
What To Do When Your Tree Has Been Struck By Lightning
Because lightning is so dangerous, there are some safety concerns to keep in mind. Although you may be curious, never go out to examine your struck tree in the middle of a storm. Under a tree is not a safe place to be when there is lightning. In addition, do not stand under or attempt to climb the tree if the trunk is split or there are broken branches.
When it is safe, you can conduct a quick tree inspection. Look for splits in the trunk, broken and hanging boughs, and peeling bark–all obvious signs of tree damage. You should be able to remove and trim any damaged branches, but leave any heavy pruning to a professional tree service company.
Consult an arborist on whether the tree will survive. They may recommend additional watering and fertilizing in the hope that the tree will pull through. Or they may decide the tree cannot be saved and advise total tree removal.
If you have immediate safety concerns, such as a struck tree that is hanging over your house or has breached your fence, call a tree care company for emergency tree services.
Prevent Catastrophe With A Tree Risk Assessment
Trees provide shade, clean air, natural beauty, and value to your property. If you have trees on your property, you should care for them by scheduling a tree inspection with a trained arborist. An arborist can advise you on how to water, fertilize, and prune all your trees to improve their health and longevity. Trees that are cared for have a stronger resistance to lightning strikes, disease, and insects.
An arborist can also perform a tree risk assessment. They will examine your trees for signs of risk, like cavities, root damage, pruning wounds, peeling bark, fungal growth, and more. They will provide a rough estimate of how at risk your tree is to disease and death. With this information, they can advise you on how to improve the health of your tree and protect it from damage.
About Greater Pitt Tree Service
Serving the Greater Pittsburgh area for over 27 years, Greater Pitt Tree Service is fully insured and well-trained in commercial and residential tree care. They offer tree risk assessments, trimming and pruning, tree and stump removal, and emergency tree service. Greater Pitt Tree Service is staffed by an ISA Certified Arborist and fully trained tree care specialists.