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3 Signs That a Tree May Have Been Hit by Lightning

Lightning can be very damaging to buildings and homes, but it can also damage  the trees in your yard. What are some of the signs that your tree was hit by lightning if you don’t witness it happening? Below are some signs you might see on a tree that indicate it’s been hit by lightning.

1. Bark Damage

Anytime a tree is struck by lightning, the tree can bend and then bounce back. This means that the bark is cracked. This sometimes will split a tree open and sometimes it will blow the bark back from a tree and break its branches. When there is more than one shock wave, you may notice more splitting.

2. Leaf Wilt

Lightning strikes interrupts the process of water distribution in a tree and this can cause leaf wilting. If the strike didn’t split the tree or crack the bark, leaves that are wilting along its major branches means that the tree has damage from lightning. Sometimes a branch’s decline is gradual and takes as long as three years to fall. When this happens, the leaves are going to be wilting as time passes and new foliage won’t replace them. Then pests will often infest those weakened branches.

3. Root Damage

There are times when lightning hits a tree that the roots are destroyed without any other signs that a lightning strike damaged it. This is going to cause the leaves to wilt and this can often kill a tree in just days. But some of the trees that are hit by lightning recover from damage to their roots if they’re able to produce some new leaves when spring comes. Providing a tree with fertilizer and water will help with increasing the stress tolerance of a tree and help it to survive and keep growing.

If you see any of these signs above in a tree, it may have been hit by lightning. Sometimes lightning struck trees can be saved, other times they are not salvageable. But now you know what to look for and what a lightning strike can mean to a tree.

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