The Nehls End Workshop #4: Taking A Direct Hit

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Blog entry by Gregn posted 04-27-2011 05:21 PM 4235 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: The Electrical Journey Part 4 of The Nehls End Workshop series Part 5: The Coming Out and Going In »

Early Monday morning was an abrupt awakening. A bright flash, a loud crack and a house shaking hit. We were struck by lighting. The tallest tree in the neighborhood was struck by lighting and it was our tree next to the drive way by the house. While no one was hurt and no damage to the house, it did take out some appliances and the network card on my computer. Tree an 80’-100’ Pine was hit at the top and peeled a bark stripe to the base shattering bark all over the yard and house.

Now I’ve seen trees that were struck by lighting, killing some completely and some partially. My concern is what will be the end result of our tree. Will it survive any or will it slowly die off? Common sense tells me that it needs to come down to prevent injury and damage to ourselves and others near by. The problem is that we can’t do it or afford to have it done. If I could do it or afford it, it would certainly make for a great harvest of lumber.

So I’m asking for the charity of any fellow Lumber Jocks in or near Northern Oklahoma that could share their generosity in helping us to remove this liability from our property. In return you would receive our most sincere gratefulness for your generosity. As well as a added benefit of what I would think yield a nice wood gloat. The tree is straight and about 6’ around at the base.

Thanks so much in advance.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

6 comments so far

View HerbC's profile


1801 posts in 3370 days

#1 posted 04-27-2011 05:28 PM

Looking at the photo, it seems that it would be fairly simple to take down the tree. The path to fell it across the front yard as shown in the first photo seems clear and the tree seems to be standing straight without a significant lean… An hour with a chain saw and it would be down, limbed and the trunk bucked into sawlog lengths. The worst thing would be getting the logs to the mill. Perhaps you could get a portable mill to come to the site.

Good Luck and remember…

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3552 days

#2 posted 04-27-2011 05:59 PM

Have you tried contacting the city or county to see if they could come out and do it. I would think they would have a crew that did this kind of stuff. Maybe home owners insurance would take care of something like this.

View Jack_T's profile


623 posts in 3542 days

#3 posted 04-27-2011 05:59 PM

Maybe your tree does not have to come down at all. I have copied the following from Morgan Tree Service's (certified arborists) website

When Lightning Strikes Your Tree

There is no pattern or “norm” to be expected from the effects of lightning when it strikes a tree. Two classes of damage can and often do occur in a wide variety of combinations.

First, the mechanical and structural damage to a tree may be very slight to the point of being almost unnoticeable, or it may be extensive as though a bomb had exploded from inside the tree. A very common physical indicator of a lightning event is the classic vertical stripping where bark, and sometimes the wood underneath, is torn from the trunk or major scaffold limbs. This stripping may skip or it may be continuous most the way up the tree. As well, it may rise straight up vertically or it may spiral around the trunk like a peppermint candycane. With some events, bark can be violently blown off the tree in circumferential sections partially or completely around the trunk or limb(s). This stripping may also physically interrupt the vascular tissues that conduct fluids up and down in the tree’s living cambial structures under the bark.

The second kind of lightning damage is the systemic and may not be easy or immediately observable. This is the functional interruption of the tree’s vascular function due to burning and traumatization of root lairs and conductive tissues. Once again, this phenomena may be very slight or extensive to the extreme of complete vascular shutdown. Also, mechanical and systemic damage can combine in a struck tree in any number of ways. A badly (physically) damaged tree may continue to live while a tree that hardly appears touched may brown out quickly and die. Large tall trees that carry high volumes of water during the hot summer seasons when electrical storms are common are most likely to be lightning victims. Mature old oaks are common classic examples of this kind of tree.

If your tree is truck by lightning, the immediate physical damage and safety considerations will need assessment. If the tree does not exhibit obvious safety concerns (structural or mechanical) and seems generally intact, the next step is likely to wait until the end of the summer or even until the following spring to evaluate the tree’s ability to bud and produce functioning leaves. A valid assessment of systemic function alone is difficult-to-impossible immediately after a strike. If the root system is seriously damaged or destroyed, no amount of immediate fertilization or other treatment will help or turn it around. There can even be an economic advantage in “waiting to see”. Little remedial advantage is usually lost in the interim. If the tree is substantially green two to four months after the strike, it is advisable to bark trace the wounded areas, cutting away loose separated bark back to point of solid attachment to the underneath. Then apply a good wood tissue insecticide such as dursban or lindane to all exposed wounded areas/surfaces. This will help to repel borers and other wood-inhabiting or wood damaging insects. Then, in the fall, a quality soluble root-builder fertilizer will help to restore root function. Soil texture and compaction tests may indicate that mycorrhizal inoculation and/or soil aeration (for clay soils) can also do much to restore vitality through restoration of a hospitable environment. Dead and damaged limbs and parts should then be removed. Premature deadwood removal may necessitate a second follow-up operation.

emphasis added.

Good luck.

-- Jack T, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

View dbhost's profile


5772 posts in 3743 days

#4 posted 04-27-2011 07:25 PM

I have a similar problem except it is 2 pines up front, and a hackberry I believe out back that need to come down properly, but I don’t have the $800.00 the tree services quoted me… Anybody want some trees?

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3494 days

#5 posted 04-27-2011 08:43 PM

Bill, City says there’s no immediate danger and won’t touch it. As for homeowners insurance we had to let it lapse because of finances. I know it sucks not having it.

Jack, very interesting and informative article. Much of what I have observed before myself. Unfortunately whether or not this tree survives. I can not live with THE LOOK the wife will give me until this tree is taken care of. This is one of those times when I know to just man up and say yes dear your right. One way or another I know this tree will come down. Its just to good of tree to not give someone a chance to harvest from before someone just cuts it down and haul of to the landfill.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3626 days

#6 posted 04-28-2011 01:11 AM

sorry to hear you have this problem
but realy glad no one was hurt or any other damage on the house
hope you will solve this soon

take care

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