If a tree in your yard is struck by lightning, the tree might not survive, and then you'll have to remove it. A lightning strike doesn't always kill a tree, but when enough damage is done, the tree should be removed for safety reasons. Here's a look at how lightning damages trees and when to know if the tree needs to be removed.
How Lightning Damages Trees
Lightning can do a lot of damage to the exterior of a tree. The force might cause a big limb to split off or bark to blow off the tree. The heat can cause the tree to burn or be damaged by heat.
Lightning can also harm the inside of the tree and not leave much physical damage. You might think the tree is fine, but the tree will decline in health and gradually die. Sometimes, the stress of being hit by lightning allows insects and infestations to take over and kill the tree.
How to Tell If Your Tree Should Be Removed
A lot of factors play a role in determining whether lightning kills a tree right away or slowly. A young, healthy tree might survive a lightning strike if the tree is only damaged in one area and there are still plenty of healthy areas left to circulate nourishment throughout the tree.
If large areas of bark are stripped off, the tree may be susceptible to diseases and die. If the tree has physical damage, you may want the advice of an arborist to determine if the tree needs to be removed. However, any broken branches and limbs should be removed right away. If the damage is bad enough, the arborist may recommend removing the tree before it has a chance to rot and become unstable.
Also, if you notice weeks later that the tree looks unhealthy, it may be due to a lightning strike that didn't kill it right away. In that case, have the tree checked so it doesn't fall or drop branches and be a hazard on your property.
How Tree Removal Is Done
A tree removal service may cut down the tree with the use of a crane if the tree is unstable after the lightning strike. The crew makes sure your property and the workers are kept safe, especially if the tree is weak and unpredictable. Limbs and branches may be cut off the sides and moved to a truck to haul away. Smaller parts of the tree might be turned into wood chips on the spot.
Be sure to ask about stump removal because stump removal might be considered a separate service. However, hauling away the tree chunks is usually included with tree removal. The company may recycle the tree if possible by selling it to a lumber mill or cutting it into firewood so the healthy parts of the tree can serve a useful purpose.