Lightning can either immediately kill a tree or weaken it. Many people don’t realize that lightning can cause some serious structural damages to a tree and anything surrounding it, as well. Houses with trees in close proximity are at risk when the tree is taller than the roof. By installing a lightning protection system, you can decrease this risk of damage.
However, a common misunderstanding about lightning protection systems is that they either attract or repel lightning; but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. While not considered a safe haven from lightning strikes, a lightning protection system will still greatly reduce the risk of damage from a potential strike.
What goes into a lightning protection system?
Trees are the most common victims of lightning strikes, and a tree lightning protection system is a good way to protect a valuable tree. The main purpose for having a lightning protection system is to provide a path for the electrical charge. With a properly installed lightning protection system in place, the tree is much safer.
While simple devices, lightning rods are effective at protecting trees and other surrounding structures. The metal of the lightning rod provides an even better conductor than the moisture in the trunk. Lightning protection systems are designed to shield the tree by providing a safe, low resistance path for an electric current to reach the ground. Once the current reaches the ground, the energy from the lightning dissipates.
How to narrow down the trees needing a system
It may be tempting to install lightning rods in every tree on your property, but that could be overdoing it. The species of a tree can tell you a lot. Certain species may be more or less susceptible to damage by lightning because of their unique characteristics. For instance, oak trees tend to be very vulnerable. They are taller and have high moisture content, which increases their ability to conduct the surge of electricity.
We also recommend evaluating the trees that are close to your house – look at the height and proximity. A tree lightning protection system should be installed if the home is 10 feet away from a tall tree or if the tree’s limbs hang over the home.
Our team of certified arborists can help you determine the best defense from lightning damage. We are also trained to know how to best install these systems. By using a combination of knowledge of mechanical installation and tree architecture, we will be able to help you protect your property. Proper tree care is an investment that can lead to substantial returns while poorly maintained trees can be a liability.