In many regions, the arrival of summer brings severe thunder storms. Lightning strikes can be devastating to trees, destroying branches of the tree or the tree itself. Branches that die as a result of a lightning strike will need to be removed, because dead branches can be a hazard to nearby homes and people. 

Signs of a Lightning Strike

The most obvious sign of a lightning strike is a deep crack in the trunk of a tree. Sometimes bark on the tree will be loosened in the area around the lightning strike, while other bark may be blown off the tree entirely. Other times, leaves on a specific branch or on the entire tree will mysteriously wilt. 

Know When to Prune and When to Remove

After a lightning strike, your tree may be in a kind of shock. If the roots of the tree have been damaged, the tree will probably die. When this happens, the entire tree may wilt in a matter of days. Your next course of action should be to call a tree removal service and have the problem taken care of.

If your tree was hit near a branch or on a part of the tree that is located above the ground, one or two branches may wilt while the rest of the tree remains healthy. Some trees can live through this experience and other trees will still die. Since pruning a dying tree is pointless, wait a few months to see if the tree lives before pruning off its damaged branches. 

Pruning Tips

Once you've determined that a tree is recovering but some of its limbs are dying, waiting additional time can only invite pests and diseases to further weaken the branch. To prune a dead or dying branch, purchase a pair of pruning shears. Pruning shears come in a variety of sizes. Each size of pruning shears will cut branches up to a certain diameter. Pick the right size of pruning shears for the size of the branch that you're pruning. 

If you're using a pair of pruning shears that you already own and have used in the past, disinfect the pruning shears to prevent the spread of tree diseases. To disinfect your pruning shears, clean the blades and then dip them in a solution of 1 part bleach to 3 parts water. Soak the blades for 5 minutes, then rinse. With this done, the blades are ready to use. 

Use the pruning shears to cut the tree at a 90 degree angle to the branch, so that the cut is completely perpendicular to the branch. Cut the branch just above the collar, which is the raised part of the branch that feeds into the trunk itself. Once this is done, do not apply a dressing to the wound. Your tree should be able to heal itself. 

For more tips and expert advice, contact a reputable tree trimming service in your area like Treetime Inc