Lighting Struck Tree Removals


Tree Hugger
Mar 6, 2005
Oxford, Connecticut
So I looked at a lightening struck Oak about a month and a half ago. They called me today and said "You were right, it's burnt up to a crisp". They want it down ASAP.

I'm going to guess the fact it was struck by lightening won't change it much during the removal, but I figured I'd ask. How should I treat this tree when a dead stick, or just another Oak?

beware of cracks!!! scope it out, before you try and rig something big:/:
I climbed a lightning struck pine today. No cracks, only popped off the bark. And the wound was all sappy, so I got sap all over my rope, lanyard, hands and saw handle. :whine:

Don't worry about the lightning thing unless you see big cracks.
Lightening does very unpredictable things to trees. It turns liquid and some solids into a gas instantly, which results in an explosion. The force of these gases coming out of the trunk under high pressure usually causes cracks to form along the grain lines, but you can't always see them because they're covered by bark. Peter Donzelli, one of the best riggers of his day, was killed when a lightening struck tree he was climbing in broke off ~20 ft below him. If there's a live tree nearby, it would be a good idea to tie off to it with your climbing line and use a flipline you can cut in case the lightning struck tree goes with you in it.
Lightening does very unpredictable things to trees. I
That's the truth .

About 5-6 years ago I disassembled a soft maple in my stepsons back yard ,60 footer which had been hit at least three times . That damned thing had limbs that looked like they had been curled with a curling iron . A bunch of springs .:lol:
If you do see some cracks, remember the trick of stabilizing the tree by wrapping snugly with heavy duty ratcheting cargo straps. Doing so can go a long ways towards increasing your margin of safety.
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It's nothing like Bivy posted. There is a trail from the tip to the ground, about 1.5" thick of bark removed. It was cool, you can follow it from the tip, to the roots, it made what looks like a mole hill into the basement of the house and wiped out their intercom.
That Binding seems a good idea...When the tree displays that tip to butt , usually spiral scarring , I give that tree every possible caution...
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I was nervous for no reason. We kicked it's ass, made a good hourly too :). Neighbor got the wood, saved me from loading, customer happy as shit too.

Thanks for the replys on this one guys.


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So I looked at a lightening struck Oak about a month and a half ago. They called me today and said "You were right, it's burnt up to a crisp". They want it down ASAP.


Nice to see pros at work! Well done 8)

Your customer needs to talk to my old clientele because they obviously don't know how it works. They are supposed to get a quote when they realize it is goosed and then call you over to do the work 12-24 months later when the bark is slipping off :roll:
Nice job!!!

Nervous is a good place to be when encountering new and unknown hazards. Better chance of getting to beer o'clock in my books :)