Lightning struck our maple tree

Asked September 19, 2019, 5:54 PM EDT

The bark is spit like described in frost damage. Would the repair be the same? Is it too late in the year to do a repair as described with frost damage? It's late September, in Michigan.

Montcalm County Michigan

1 Response

When trees are damaged by sun scald in winter, a frost crack or lightning there is not a repair that can be done. The tissue under the bark has died and now the bark pulls away from the dead tissue. Wrapping does not help. The tree will begin to develop callus tissue from the edges, just as if a branch was pruned. Any bark that is lose around this injury could be carefully cut back to prevent trapped moisture and to also prevent a place where debris and insects like earwigs like to live. It is easier to see this lose bark in the season after the injury occurred. Unfortunately lightning often does more damage than is apparent right away as the intense energy can kill tissue over a large area. It is also a wound that extends a long way and does not close over well. What you can do to help the tree is to prevent any additional stresses from weakening the tree, such watering during very dry conditions especially during hot summer weather. The trees ability to move moisture up the tree has been reduced on one side and it is important to help the tree out during dry weather. It is amazing how some trees respond back with vigor and callus tissue growth. Fertilizing the tree in spring to boost the vigor of the tree may also help. It will be a wait and see though how much tissue was damaged from the heat.