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Lightning Damage

(Dec. 2010)

QuestionDo all trees struck by lightning eventually die? The tree in the attached picture was hit this past August and is continuing to lose its bark


AnswerAll trees that are struck by lightning do not die, but there aren't any clear cut guidelines telling you if your tree will or will not die. I have seen some trees with what appeared to be horrible damage, survive, and some that had very little visible damage, die. Make sure you contact your homeowners insurance to let them know it happened and assess how well the tree leafs out this spring. From the look of the damage, you will probably have internal decay in the trunk, even if the tree survives, so assessing where it is in the yard and the potential for damage, should it fall is also important. Decay is not something that happens overnight, but it will happen. Plants will callous over wounds, but the internal decay will continue over time.

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