Lightning is among the most powerful and frequent natural occurrences in nature. It is a sudden spark or flash of electrical discharge that is beautiful but potentially deadly. In the event of a severe storm, tall trees harboring any type of damage resulting from the lightning strike could be susceptible to wind damage and cause harm to those on the ground. The effects of lightning on trees can vary depending on numerous factors. This article will offer an overview concerning how lightning can affect trees. It will also help you identify the underlying issues in those cases where trees have been struck by lightning and how you can assess the damage.
Why Lightning is Attracted to Trees
When it comes to the mysteries of nature, there are many as diverse and peculiar. One aspect, in particular, is why lightning prefers to strike trees. Why does this electric force travel down the bark and branches of a tree instead of a more direct path to the ground? By taking a closer look at the phenomenon, we can better understand why lightning is attracted to trees.
Although lightning moves from cloud to cloud, it can also move from cloud to earth. Trees are often damaged in this process because they are great conductors of electricity. This is due to the sap and moisture they create within their trunk and branches. Lightning prefers to take the path of less resistance which often means striking a tree to reach the ground rather than the surrounding air.
What Happens When Lightning Strikes a Tree?
When lightning runs throughout a tree into the ground, the cells within the tree heat up to a steaming boil. In turn, the steam then causes the tree’s bark to explode, leaving an exposed trunk or branch. In more severe cases, the whole tree can explode due to the high steam created from within. Most of the time, you will notice these markings and damages quickly because of the exposed wood and the impact pattern.
However, since the lightning travels down, there could be little damage to the physical tree but severe damage to the roots below ground. This makes assessing lightning damage on trees more difficult. Unfortunately, the chances of a tree’s recovery after a lightning strike are slim. It is more likely that the tree’s health will deteriorate over time than bloom again next spring.
It is not always easy to identify lightning damage on a tree. The best way to do it is to consider several factors, and if the damage is considerable, you should always call a certified arborist. A dying tree is a cause for concern. Not only can they lead to property damage, but they can cause severe harm or injury to you and your family. If you suspect your tree has been hit by lighting during a storm and want to know the next step you should take, contact us at SB Tree Service. We know how to spot the signs of lightning damage on a tree and help keep you and your family safe from the dangerous forces of nature.