Lightning strike and it's effect on the soil

Asked August 4, 2016, 12:02 PM EDT

Two or three year ago we had lightning strike a tree in our front yard. The tree eventually started to die, so we had it removed last year. We have since tried to plant trees in that area, without any success. They either die or just don't flourish. We've planted trees in other parts of the yard and they are thriving beautifully. Could the soil have been affected and is there anything we can do to correct it?


York County Pennsylvania

1 Response

We find no evidence that lightning strikes have a deleterious effect on soil. In fact, lightning is a source of nitrogen for the soil. Once the nitrogen ions are carried to the soil by rain, the nitrogen mineralizes in the soil and is changed into usable nitrates.
It could be that there are excessive amounts of root material from the previous tree and bacteria that are involved in the decomposition of that material are robbing nitrogen from the soil in order to thrive. When you plant new plants in that area be sure to provide some amount of organic nitrogen fertilizer to the planting site.