Lightning Damage – To Oak

Q: This past July 4th our beautiful white oak was sideswiped by a lighting bolt. It did not penetrate the bark and get to the bare wood, just striped about 30 feet of bark. Do we need an arborist? We do want to lose it.

A: I think it will survive. But keep in mind that much lightning damage is unseen under the bark. If the tree was weak when it was hit, all bets are off.

Use a razor knife to remove any loose bark or splinters near the wound. I did this with Hank Bruno at Callaway gardens a few years back and that white oak is still healthy and is growing callous tissue over the wound.

Water deeply if the soil gets really dry. I recommend 600 gallons per week until things cool off in fall.

If you want a second opinion, get a certified arborist at the Georgia Arborist Association.

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