Protecting Your Trees from Lightning Strikes

General Overview

Though rare, lightning strikes are certainly a very real occurrence and strike trees actually more often than one would think. Trees, in fact, are struck by lightning far more than humans or most other objects. The reason is because of the water that trees contain, which attracts lightning strikes that pass through the tree to the ground. If you live in an area that’s prone to lightning strikes or storms, and your property is surrounded by trees, the following is an overview of protecting your trees from lightning strikes:

Know Which Trees Should Be Protected

While there are many different reasons why some trees are struck by lightning compared to others, you will first want to determine which trees should be protected to begin with. Some of the main trees which are usually recommended to have lightning strike prevention systems in place are:

  • Isolated trees that are located on top of a hill or in the middle of a field;
  • Trees that are extremely tall and are located in a recreational park area;
  • Trees that are considered to be shade trees located around 8 to 12 feet from a certain building or structure;
  • Trees that have large branches that extend over buildings;
  • Trees that are considered to be particularly historical or valuable;
  • Trees in areas in which there are frequent lightning storms.

Overall, the taller a tree is, the more likely it is to be struck by lightning.

Why It’s Important to Protect a Tree from Lightning Strikes

There are variety of reasons why it’s important to protect a tree from lightning strikes, but overall, you should know that a lightning strike can kill a tree pretty much instantly. If a tree is located near a house or a building, this can cause the tree to fall on it. Then there’s the issue of the actual loss of the tree. It can ruin the beauty of the property or park and cause its aesthetic appeal to drop considerably.

What Can You Do?

While there are different recommended options, your best and most efficient bet to protect your trees from lightning strikes is to have a lightning cable system, which is usually comprised of copper, installed. This will have to be professionally installed and will extend from the air terminals on top of the main trunk of the tree to copper ground rods that are 10 feet in length and located past the drip line of the tree. The benefits of this type of lightning prevention system is that they can be installed in a way in which their appearance is extremely minimal and with no damage or stress placed on the tree itself. They are also extremely effective.

While they can cost between $1,000 to $1,500 with installation, the cost of a tree removal, especially for a large one, is much higher.

Lewis Tree Service has close to 30 years of experience in helping residents in the Santa Cruz protect their trees from lightning strikes. Contact us today for a free quote and to have one of our ISA certified arborists sent to examine your property!