What to Do When Lightning Hits a Tree: Best Practices

Are you unsure about what to do when lightning hits a tree? Contact our team at Frady Tree Care.

Lightning damage is one of the most significant threats to your tree’s longevity. However, you can save a tree experiencing lighting damage with prompt care.

Read on to learn the steps to take when lightning hits a tree and how opting for emergency tree service in Salisbury, NC, can help.

The Impact Lightning Has on Trees

When lightning strikes your tree, the sap along the lightning’s path boils. The sudden temperature increase and ground current generate steam, explode cells, and blow off pieces of bark.

If only a side of the tree appears to be damaged, the chances of survival are higher. However, if the lightning strike caused wood and splinters to explode on both sides, the tree would most likely die.

In some instances, your tree might not appear to be damaged. Unfortunately, it can still develop internal issues that will need addressing.

What to Do When Lightning Hits a Tree

Here are the steps to take when lightning hits and causes damage to trees.

Assess the Damage

Begin by assessing the damage. While it might be challenging to determine the situation’s severity, looking for certain signs can help.

For instance, the damage is extensive if the tree has a split trunk and a severely injured crown. Alternatively, if your tree has several branches intact and its trunk is relatively unscathed, you can nurse it back to health.

Trim Affected Areas

Trim any damaged branches to support the tree’s healthy regrowth. Doing so also protects it against disease and rot. Avoid pruning too much because this can cause the tree further stress, resulting in recovery setbacks.

Water Deeply

After lightning hits a tree, the next thing to do is water it deeply. Doing so can help you revive your tree’s wilted areas and aid in the tree’s nutrient uptake.

This step is vital because your tree needs all the nutrients it can get to heal and repair damaged areas. Remember to keep the area moist until your tree has completely recovered.


Speaking of nutrients, an essential part of saving your lightning-struck tree is fertilizing it. If your tree is in severe condition, consider applying a quick-release synthetic fertilizer to help facilitate prompt regrowth.

If your tree is relatively healthy, a deep layer of compost flowed by bark chip mulch will do the trick.

The compost will provide the tree with a balanced source of nutrients while benefiting the soil microbes and boosting your tree’s nutrient uptake.

Regardless of the fertilizer you apply, ensure you mulch the tree. Doing so helps protect the sensitive topsoil around your tree’s base. It also reduces the evaporation rate, so you won’t have to water the tree as often.


Continuously monitor your tree’s condition until it recovers. Ensure that you check for diseases and pests that target weakened trees.

Immediately apply a pesticide treatment should you notice any signs of wood-boring insects.

Emergency Tree Service in Salisbury, NC

Since trees are one of the tallest objects on properties, they often attract lightning strikes that can cause significant damage.

Fortunately, when lightning storms come around, you can turn to us at Frady Tree Care.

We have a team of highly skilled, experienced arborists ready to provide the emergency tree services you need. From inspecting the damage to providing prompt solutions, we have you covered whenever lightning hits a tree on your property.

Contact our Frady Tree Care team at 704-644-2516 for quality emergency tree services in Salisbury, NC. We also offer helpful resources that can help you know all you need about tree care, including how to know where tree nutrients come from.


Frady Tree Care has the most reliable and professional tree services in the Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Kernersville, Clemmons & High Point, NC areas! Our team is a third-generation certified and fully-insured arboriculture firm. With more than 100 years of combined experience, we are the tree service experts you can trust.


Charlotte Office

8640 Charlotte University City Blvd.  Suite A3-241        Charlotte, NC 28213
Phone : (704) 644-2516

Lexington Office

402 W. 4th Avenue,    Lexington, NC 27292
Phone : (336) 236-1006

Salisbury Office

1460 Henderson Grove Church Rd,
Salisbury, NC 28147
Phone : (704) 644-2516

Winston-Salem Office

1035 Shalimar Drive.      Winston-Salem, NC 27107
Phone : (336) 236-1006

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