Each year, more than one million trees in the United States are struck by lightning. A lightning strike can immediately kill trees or weaken them so severely that they are then attacked and killed by boring insects or other secondary invaders. In some cases, lightning struck trees must be removed due to structural degradation caused by the heat and mechanical forces generated by the electrical charge. What many people don’t realize is that lightning not only poses a risk to trees, but to adjacent structures as well. Damage to structures can occur when lightning strikes a tree and then side-flashes (“jumps”) to more conductive materials such as downspouts and other metal objects. Houses with trees within ten feet of the structure and taller than the roof are most at risk to damage from side-flashes.
ATC offers lightning protection systems that can minimize the risk of damage from a strike. These systems use copper conductors connected to a ground rod to reduce tree damage and conduct the electrical charge to the earth where the energy is dispersed. Our systems have an excellent record of protecting trees and they reduce the risk of a side-flash to adjacent structures.
In fact, lightning rarely damages trees outfitted with a system that has been installed in accordance to ANSI (American National Standards Institute) A300 Standards, which were adopted by The Tree Care Industry Association. While lightning strikes are unpredictable and protection cannot be guaranteed, systems are effective and affordable under these standards.
Tall trees are obviously most susceptible to lightning strikes and certain species including tulip tree, oak, pine, and maple are damaged more often than others. Historic trees, those in feature locations in the landscape, and those close to structures are also candidates for lightning protection.
Lightning protection systems should be inspected annually to ensure they are intact. Systems will require servicing to extend conductors and replace fasteners to accommodate growth of the trees in which they are installed.
Tree removal is not a service that we like to emphasize, but it is a very necessary part of arboriculture and one that Affordable Tree Care executes professionally. Removals are performed to eliminate dead and dying trees and those that have become hazardous and cannot be mitigated by other accepted cultural practices. Removals are also done to eliminate competition so the remaining plants have more light and space to develop. Trees are also removed to allow for new construction, building additions, and to provide clearances with those structures.
Tree removal is the most hazardous aspect of arboriculture. Often, tree workers must remove trees growing in confined spaces near homes, utility lines, and other sensitive areas. Tree removal requires considerable experience and training to successfully perform this task.
At ATC, our arborists are highly trained in the art and science of tree removal. Our goal in all of our tree work operations is to provide thorough clean up of debris and cause minimal impact to surrounding vegetation.
Moisture deficiency from drought is the most common stress encountered in the landscape. Usually, this is a temporary condition and has minimal impact on plants. Periodically, drought conditions may persist from several months to years and can significantly affect plant health and survival. New plantings that have not become established and very old plants are most impacted by drought.
Moisture stress adversely impacts virtually every process in the plant including:
Plants stressed by drought are more susceptible to certain pest problems including boring insects and stem and root disease pathogens. These secondary invaders are often responsible for the ultimate decline and death of the plant.
With drought seemingly becoming more severe and intense in many regions, landscaping with drought tolerant species should be considered whenever possible. Integrating large mulch beds into landscapes help conserve soil moisture and reduces the competition for water from trees, turf, and other ground covers. Proactive plant health care programs like those offered at ATC, are important so if drought and water restrictions develop, plants can better tolerate the resulting stress. During droughts, plants should be monitored closely for pest problems and treatments applied as needed to prevent additional damage.