Tree hit by lightning?

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mets0903

mets0903

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Hello all,

I am new here and I was hoping that someone might be able to provide some advice regarding a tree in my backyard. Some photos are attached.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the bottom of this (hickory?) tree appeared to be rotting a bit. Upon further inspection looking up, it seems that it may have been hit by lightning. I am not sure whether this potential lightning strike and the rotting at the bottom are related (and I have no idea when the rotting began or when the potential lightning strike happened). Anyway, I've gotten a few estimates to take the tree down and everyone seems to be fairly eager to remove it, but after doing a bit of research I am wondering whether the tree could survive (as I would much rather not have to remove it). Obviously I don't want to do anything unsafe and I am concerned that a strong winter storm or perhaps some heavy wet snow could cause it to come down, but I just want to make sure that taking it down isn't an overly drastic thing to do given its condition.

Any advice or suggestions anyone could provide would be great.

Thanks!IMG_20211012_142314_01.jpgIMG_20211012_142314_03.jpgIMG_20211012_142314_02.jpg20211024_170636.jpg20211024_170657.jpg
 

sb47

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It does have the tail tell signs of a lightning strike. The rot looks much older then the scar from the strike. Is the tree in danger of coming down and or a safety hazard? I can't tell from the photos so, You have to be the judge on that one. The leaves are turning early compared to those next to it but may not have anything to do with the rot or strike. It should make for some great firewood and smoking wood. If you decide to take it down, I would keep the wood.
 
buzz sawyer

buzz sawyer

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Sure looks like a lightning strike to me. That tree has been trying to recover for some time now. If there are no safety issues, i.e. targets if it falls, you could let t go and see how it does. Otherwise, I'd remove it. If there are any local restaurants that smoke meat, they may be interested in purchasing the wood.
 

ATH

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Guys you can see targets in the photos.
Fences? Or other trees?

I'd suggest you have a Tree Risk Assessment Qualified Arborist look at it. Not one with a huge 'we remove trees cheap' advertisement. Expect to pay for a consultation. If you are having removal contractors look at it, of course they think it needs to come down. Maybe it does, but know why before just doing it if you'd prefer keep the tree.

That looks like a lot of decay at the bottom. How far can you stick a probe into that cavity? There is really good reaction wood around it...but that's significant rot based on the pics.
 

ATH

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Also, nobody who has spent money on it likes to hear this: but get rid of the landscape fabric. It does not allow good airflow and moisture exchange between the soil and environment above. Yes...they say it is permeable. Pour some water on it and see how much runs off instead of going through. That only gets worse over time as the pours fill with more dirt. Not good for the health of the trees. I'd rather see mulch than rocks... but removing the fabric is more important.
 
buzz sawyer

buzz sawyer

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Also, nobody who has spent money on it likes to hear this: but get rid of the landscape fabric. It does not allow good airflow and moisture exchange between the soil and environment above. Yes...they say it is permeable. Pour some water on it and see how much runs off instead of going through. That only gets worse over time as the pours fill with more dirt. Not good for the health of the trees. I'd rather see mulch than rocks... but removing the fabric is more important.
Good catch on the fabric!
 

Del_

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Fences? Or other trees?


I see a house on the right and I'm betting that the photo is taken from behind the OP's house and he has a back patio.

I bet the lightning strikes is new within the past six months maybe just in the past month.

I'm pretty sure that the tree is history. That's a pretty severe color change and some recently dead.
 

ATH

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I use to buy trees from a guy that used card board, news paper around his starter trees and his trees grew much faster then tree farms that didn't do that. That may not be the case with fabric but it worked well with paper products.
that is because cardboard (as long as it isn't plastic or wax lined) or newspaper go away pretty quickly. I suggest those for new mulch rings to kill the grass off.
 
GeeVee

GeeVee

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The Rot at the base is showing you how hollow it is, and that was some sort of physical trauma, the big open former knot hole scarred over is further telling you how hollow it is. The recent in the last year or less lightning strike didn't help. It will continue to die and drop limbwood, or might just come down completely uncontrolled at any time.

You don't need any more advice than what you already got, hire a license pro to take it down, sooner the better.

For certain, you can go out this evening with a flashlight, and shine it in either cavity, and see the light from the opposite one. This tree is not going to get better on its own. Sorry. but it should go on your terms, and not left up to its own.
 
sonny580

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Gotta go with the majority of the votes on this one! It shows VERY old damage down low and recent strike which put the final nail in its coffin! ---sorry but it should come down before it goes on its own and falls on somebody or something!
It most likely has internal cracks from the strike and possibly wont leaf out in the spring.
 
Wills

Wills

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I've had at least 3 trees on my property, take a direct hit, and I say the tree in your photo has definitely sustained a lightning strike. But I'd be more concerned with the rot at the base of the trunk. If you want to know what to do, as others have said, call an arborist, not someone in the business of removing trees. Depending on your state or county, you may or may not have to pay for their evaluation.
 
onedash

onedash

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I had a couple large trees struck by lightning and a lot of electronics in the house were toast so I did an insurance claim. They paid $500 per tree and I found a company that would put them both on the ground for $500 each. When the crew showed up they told me three times what a great deal he gave me. They climbed one to cut branches off first and the poplar had two equally giant trunks that i could have turned into a ladder so it was almost like 3 trees. The climber went up the tree like a squirrel. Pretty cool watching em work.
 
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