Lightning is extremely dangerous. The quick blast of energy reaches a peak of 60,000 degrees Fahrenheit and results in 100 million volts of electricity. Remember: Never take shelter under a tree during a storm! Protect yourself, your home, and your trees.
The earth experiences approximately 44,000 thunderstorms every day. Ben Franklin first proved in 1760 that lightning is electric. Charged particles gather in the lower part of the clouds and are attracted to charged particles on the ground. If the earth’s particles are positively charged and the clouds are negative, the static electricity causes a spark to jump from the cloud to the ground. When the sparks collide, a short circuit occurs and creates that bright flash we know as lightning.
Thousands of trees are struck by lightning each day. Usually they are the tallest object and their root structure makes them a natural lightning rod, easily passing current from the air into the ground. When an unprotected tree on your property is struck by lightning, its’ life may be prolonged with pruning, fertilization and insect management. However, the best precaution is to install a lightning rod system to protect the tree. The lightning rod system effectively guides the electricity down to the ground without injuring the tree. The copper rod and wiring provide a conductor for the lightning, bypassing the wet tissue of the tree.
Concerned homeowners should have a professional determine which trees are most at risk for lightning strikes. Oaks and tulip trees have a high water content making them easier targets for lightning. Some trees are naturally oily making them poor conductors. The best candidates for lightning rod installations are taller trees in close proximity to your home which pose a risk of damaging your house.
A lightning protection system is a small investment for a lot of prevention. When installed properly, they are extremely effective in protecting the health and value of the trees, as well as, helping to protect your home and property. Contact Tamke today to discuss a lightning protection system for your trees.