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Large Water Oak tree hit by lightning

Discussion in 'Homeowner Helper Forum' started by Sonya Faye Hill, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. Sonya Faye Hill

    Sonya Faye Hill New Member

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    Hi Arboristsite.com,
    I desperately need your help. I have a large 75/100' tall water oak in my yard among 3 or 4 others. This one was hit by lightning on Friday 7-6-18. I am not sure if the tree is truly damaged by the strike . It looks like it was hit about halfway down, form an extending limb, but not from the crown. The strike went down the tree but I dont think it went to its root system. I am not sure. I see no bark sheared off down around the bottom,,, the bark sheared starts about 4 ft high on the tree. Please advise me, if you think this tree can be saved. There is cracks on each side of the tree, with some of the inner wood splintered out from there. but not a lot. I can see small cracks but not gaping. I am so desperate, first because I dont want to lose the tree but also , that in no way can I afford to bring the tree down. I live alone.. am a little limited with a full knee replacement. I am single and I do know I cannot afford it financially. Please, I would so appreciate your help and advice on this. If the tree can even remotely be saved. Thank you for your guidance.

    Sonya Hill
     
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  2. blades

    blades Addicted to ArboristSite

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    The structural integrity of the tree could be severely compromised- as such it becomes a hazard to your home or neighbors depending on proximity. You might want to check with your home insurance co. Course they are mostly not a proactive group as a whole.
     
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  3. Canyon Angler

    Canyon Angler Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Hard to say, one way or the other. There are trees here on the property, out in the middle of farmland, that have been hit by lightning many times and aside from the scars, appear otherwise healthy. But we also lost a very nice large pecan with one strike... Time will tell.
     
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  4. Oldmaple

    Oldmaple Addicted to ArboristSite

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    A little bit of wood splintered out is not going to be a problem. A lightning strike is not necessarily fatal to a tree, it does react unpredictably though. As long as there aren't any large broken branches (safety hazards) from the strike you can take a wait and see approach. As long as the leaves stay green then all you really need to do is probe the scarred areas once a year or so, to make sure you're not getting a large pocket of decay there.
     
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  5. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

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    1) have a qualified arborist visit the tree to make sure there is no damage that is immediately concerning.
    2) I'd call your insurance agent just to see what your policy covers (may be nothing - I've seen some that say landscape damage tops out at $500). Ask "if the tree was split in 2 would the policy pay?" "If we document that the tree was damaged in a storm, but that we don't know the full extent of the damage, and may not know for a year or 2, will the policy cover that just the same as if the tree was split in 2 the moment the lightning struck?" If it will, you are essentially putting them on notice that there is storm damage and if the policy covers that, you may need to file a claim.

    There is a good presentation on lightning strikes that you can listen to on the ISA website. I don't think you need to be a member to get it: https://www.isa-arbor.com/Online-Learning/Podcasts/Podcast/7/Science-of-Arboriculture they are in chronological order. This one is dated May 15, 2015.
     

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