3 Key Areas to Check After Lightning Strikes a Tree
Under a tree is not the best place you want to be during a thunderstorm. Trees are vulnerable to be hit by lightning because they protrude from the ground, and hence provide conduction to the earth. Although a natural beauty, lightning has among the most dangerous effects ever witnessed in nature. Both man, animals and trees are vulnerable to lightning strikes.
A tree is a better conductor than air because it has more moisture, in the form of sap, than atmosphere has. The damage on a tree after being hit by lightning ranges from nothing at all while others are left nursing heavy damages. An adverse effect of such is the termination of the life of the tree altogether.
A badly hit tree will show a split straight down its center, three out of four of this trees are not likely to survive. This is because of the degree of damage the lightning has subjected on the once lively tree.
The effects that lightning has on a tree are tremendous and in some way wonderful to observe. The lightning runs along the inner bark of the tree straight down to the ground causing a number of unimaginable effects. The outer back may eventually expand and explode into numerous strips of charred wood, similar to charcoal. The tree may end up burning to the ground or even just stand strong and be partially damaged.
When investigating a lightning strike on a tree, it is important to observe the following areas of the affected tree;
Observe the Trunk of the Tree
A tree that has been hit by lightning will appear charred generally, and have a charcoal-like appearance that it did not have before. Another sign is it will look like it has been shot at.
If lightning has gone through the center of the tree, you are likely to spot charred wood on the earth’s surface on both sides of the tree.
Examine the Condition of the Branches
A tree that has been hit with lightning will show burnt and broken branches. When examining this, it is important to separate cases of wind damage on the trees. Cases of broken branches that are not associated with heat are isolated and it is highly likely that lightning is not important for the damage.
As storms may turn out to be violent, falling branches should be investigated keenly so as to be attributed to a lightning strike.
Check for Wilting of the Tree Leaves
A lightning-struck tree will have some sort of burned leaves on the ground. Moreover, wilting will be observed in a manner that is not usual for the particular tree. Sometimes, lightning, en route to the ground leaves no evidence on neither the trunk nor the branches.
However, the leaves will begin wilting and the twigs will shed color and become less flexible.
After a number of days of being struck by lightning the twigs begin to shrink and turn brittle, thereafter they will begin to drop to the ground.
The adversity of the effects of the lightning strike depend on the type of tree that has been hit by the lightning, how much moisture the tree contains and the condition of the tree before it is hit by lightning. Lightning subjects the moisture in the tree to extremely hot temperatures that decide the fate of the tree.
Some trees have weathered a number of great lightning strikes and yet are still standing strong. This is maybe because of their strength or it may be that the lightning strike was not that strong to take them down.
Investigating whether lightning is responsible for the damage of the tree may be tricky at times; given the complexity of knowing the health of the tree before being struck by lightning. It is common to conclude that a tree has fallen because of a lightning strike yet it was a contributed effort from insects’ infestation or even that the tree was in its last days because of old age or even a plant disease. It is therefore not wise to rush to conclusions because of these factors that are to be considered.