Lightning damage to palm trees


Lightning strikes are prevalent in Florida and particularly in Tampa, which has been called the ‘lightning capital of the United States.’ Palm trees are often struck since they are usually the tallest objects in a landscape. Lighting strikes usually kill a tree within days or months.

Lightning damage evidence seen on trunk of this Palm in the form of a sappy excretion.

Sappy excretion is evidence of lightning damage.

Signs of lightning injury can vary from a canopy that appears blown apart, to split trunks, or sappy excretions on the trunk formed from the extreme heat going through the palm’s tissue (seen above on a Sabal Palm in Mira Bay).

Palms will rarely recover from lightning damage and should be removed fairly quickly if a collapsing trunk will cause a hazard to surroundings.

If any green remains in the canopy, it may have a chance at recovery. Call me.— Pete


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