March 2, 2024

Thrive Insider

Exclusive stories of successful entrepreneurs

5 Essential Ways to Tell If a Tree Was Struck by Lightning

5 Essential Ways to Tell If a Tree Was Struck by Lightning

When nature’s fury strikes, trees often bear the brunt of its force. Lightning can wreak havoc on trees, leaving distinct signs of its impact. Recognizing these markers can provide crucial insights into whether a tree has been struck by lightning. Here are five essential ways to make that determination.

1. Bark Damage and Scorch Marks

Inspect the tree’s bark for splits, peeling, and irregular patterns. Look for blackened areas and a distinct burnt odor, indicating lightning’s searing touch. Outer bark might strip away, revealing inner layers. This scarring occurs due to lightning’s intense heat. Such distinct marks and smells help confirm lightning’s impact on the tree.

2. Cracking of Wood Underneath the Lightning Path

Direct your attention to the wood situated beneath the path taken by lightning. Look for distinctive vertical cracks that penetrate deep into the trunk. These cracks, evidence of lightning’s powerful energy surge, result from the rapid and extreme heating and subsequent cooling of the tree’s wood.

The alignment of these fractures with the lightning’s trajectory provides a clear visual representation of its forceful journey through the tree. By analyzing these cracks, you gain insights into the intensity and direction of the lightning strike’s impact on the tree.

3. Ground Scarring

After a lightning strike, check around the tree’s base for ground scarring. Look for disturbed soil, singed vegetation, or a small crater. Lightning’s intense energy can surge into the ground, leaving a visible scar. This scarring occurs as the electrical current seeks an exit route.

The soil may be disrupted and charred, forming a distinct pattern. This evidence of the lightning’s path into the earth is a key indicator of the tree’s encounter with a powerful electrical discharge.

4. Steam Explosions from Water Underneath Bark

Upon a lightning strike, water within the tree heats rapidly, transforming into steam. This sudden pressure buildup can lead to explosive bursts underneath the bark. As the steam expands, it forcefully breaks through the tree’s outer layers, resulting in visible ruptures and fragmented wood. These steam explosions are a compelling indicator of a tree being struck by lightning, showcasing the immense energy transferred during the strike.

5. Tree Canopy Damage

Survey the upper branches for torn leaves, missing sections, or charred areas. Lightning’s electrical surge can scorch and shred foliage as it courses through the tree. Look for abrupt changes in the canopy’s shape or coloration, indicative of the disruptive force. Damaged branches may be stripped of leaves or exhibit jagged ends. This aerial perspective offers crucial insights into the tree’s encounter with lightning’s potent energy.

In conclusion, in the aftermath of a lightning strike, trees bear distinctive clues that reveal the force they’ve endured. By observing bark damage, wood cracking, ground scarring, steam explosions, and canopy damage, you can discern whether a tree has been struck by lightning.
Vigilant observation of these telltale signs aids in understanding the powerful impact of nature’s electrical fury. Remember, if nature’s fury strikes, it is wise to seek the services of professional arborists for expert tree removal services. They can handle it well.