Over 1 million trees are struck by lightning in the United States each year. Some trees die immediately while other strikes cause serious long term health and structural problems for woody plants. This type of damage increases the risk of falling limbs and predisposes trees to insect and disease infestations.
Susceptibility to damage by a strike varies by species. Tulip poplar and black locust are considered highly susceptible to damage. Ash, catalpa, elm, hemlock, maple, oak, pine and spruce are other species that are frequently damaged.
Lightning protection systems minimize the risk of damage from a potentially devastating strike. Systems should be considered for tall trees growing close to buildings, trees in recreation areas and high value/historic trees.
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