How do I save a tree struck by lightning?

Gardens & Landscapes December 19, 2007 Print Friendly and PDF
Remove any hazardous or threatening limbs immediately. If none is present, then wait at least one month before having a licensed, insured arborist perform a tree health and tree safety evaluation. The heat from lightning destroys the cambium tissue. Longitudinal or spiral streaks down the trunk are commonly seen after a lightning strike, and the base of the tree may explode with bark and wood bursting outward. Most homeowner policies cover a lightning strike to trees, so consider calling your insurance company. Tree damage or tree loss may be claimed as a casualty loss on your taxes. If you are home at the time of the strike, immediately check your attic for signs of a fire, and check all electrical appliances. Some electric power companies or associations will remove trees (for little or no fee) that threaten transmission lines. It is probably good to get the tree out soon because most trees that are struck by lightning die in a year or two.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.