What Should I Do If My Tree Is Struck By Lightning?

While storms can be beautiful and exciting, they can also be scary and cause significant damage to both the home and the yard. Having a tree get struck by lightning can be a “shocking” experience, so it’s best not to get caught unprepared. Here is some important information that everyone should know so that they will know how to act if a tree is struck.

What Exactly Happens When a Tree Is Struck By Lightning?

The tree damage that happens when a tree is struck by lightning can vary greatly depending on the severity of the strike and where it hits the tree.

An important factor in how well or how poorly a tree does is how much moisture it has inside of it. When lightning strikes the tree, it very quickly heats up the water inside the tree’s cells. This water comes to a boil and creates steam, which is what causes the bark to peel, slide, or even be blown completely off the tree.

On the flip side, sometimes a tree does not show any signs of visible damage on the outside but is much more damaged on the inside. Unfortunately, this is often noticed too late, after the tree has already died. 

What You Can Do

You’re probably wondering, what exactly should I do if my tree is struck by lightning?

The first and most important thing to know is that the electricity created by a lightning strike stays in the ground around the tree for up to a few minutes after the strike. While it may be tempting to run right out and check for any obvious tree damage, that does run the risk of being injured or even killed. Always wait before approaching the tree or, better yet, contact an arborist for more advice before doing anything.

What ultimately happens to the tree is decided by how much damage it took from the strike. Some trees are too far gone and will need to be removed before they become a serious tree hazard. Others can be coaxed back to health by an arborist. It’s also important to note that, although many websites make claims that their homemade recipe can help save the bark or the tree, there is no truth to any of those claims. 

Why You Should Call a Professional

In addition to the potential safety hazards that having a tree get struck by lightning presents, there are other reasons that you should call an arborist right away.

A trained arborist can do a full tree risk assessment, not just of the tree that was struck, but also the other trees on the property. This will not only help decide if tree removal is warranted, but can also help prevent damage to your entire property.

Also, arborists are aware of other preventative measures that can be taken, like tree trimming, cabling, etc. Although we can’t control the weather and storms happen, consulting with a tree service company can help minimize any potential risks, especially if you live in a particularly stormy area.

About  VI Tree Service

VI Tree Service is located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. They employ certified arborists and hold multiple other qualifications and certifications. Their staff performs tree risk assessments, tree removal/trimming, and emergency tree services.