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Lightning Strikes and Damaged Trees

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Charlotte has recently seen its fair share of summer storms and these summer storms have often brought thunder and lightning along with them. Have your trees been damaged by invasive flashes of electricity? You may be unaware, but often times, the answer is yes.

The Georgia Forestry Commission offers a quick, one-page guide to lightning struck trees but we'll share some highlights here. 

Although trees may not have any immediate and visible signs of damage, harm can occur in sizable forms; some of these include splitting of bark, cracking of wood directly underneath the lightning path, steam explosions from water underneath the bark, and a radiating shock wave that can create permanent leaf wilting leading to eventual twig death.

Lightning strikes in trees create a destabilized environment in which insects thrive on. Boring insects, in particular, cause major havoc on damaged trees and should not be ignored. Boring insects are typically secondary pests, meaning, the insects wait for a tree to become weakened before attacking.  To combat against boring insects calls for preventative bore sprays applied before the lightning strikes.

Although we as humans can take cover from lightening, our trees cannot. Keep an eye out for lightening damaged trees; if your tree has been struck, continue to periodically check for decay and dead roots.

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