Branching Out: Keeping A Healthy Environment Through Tree Care

Lightning Protection Systems And Your Trees

Summer storms can be very damaging to trees on your land with high winds and heavy rain wreaking havoc on canopy-heavy specimens.  Professional pruning services can help with this by thinning out the canopy, but did you know that your tree surgery company can also put in place measures to protect your trees from lightning strikes?  Read on to find out more.

How does lightning damage a tree?

When lightning strikes a tree, the electricity it contains is transmitted down the tree trunk by the water inside it.  As the water heats up, it turns to steam and expands, exploding and rupturing the tree's cells, causing the trunk to split or bringing down branches.  If the tree is adjacent to your property, severe damage could be caused as the tree or branches fall.

Most trees that are struck by lightning are damaged beyond repair and will eventually require expensive removal.

Lightening systems

If you live in an area that is prone to storms, you might want to consider having a lightening protection system fitted to your large trees. 

Lightning protection systems are basically simple lightning conductor rods fitted to your trees.   The system is usually made up of several aerial terminals affixed to each tree that provide entry points for the system.  A down-lead cable is fitted so that it runs right down the length of the tree trunk to the ground where it then joins a terminal rod, which is buried underground a distance away from the tree.  The tree is totally unharmed by the process of fitting the lightning protection system.

The metal contained in the lightning conduction systems draws the electricity from the lightning strike down into the earth, away from the tree itself, leaving the tree's tissues unharmed.  This is because the metal contained in the system conducts electricity much more readily than water, so the lightning is drawn to it.

Although lightning protection systems don't prevent lightning strikes, they will protect your tree.  Your tree's lightning protection system should last for many years, provided that regular maintenance checks and inspections are carried out by an expert from your tree services company.  This work can be done at the same time as routine annual pruning.

If you have large, specimen trees on your land or have trees that are in close proximity to your property, it's a good idea to have a lightning protection system fitted.  Why not ask your local tree services company for more advice and information on having a lightning protection system fitted to your trees?