Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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Tree Lightning Damage Prevention

Scarred TreeThink about that big oak tree in your front yard. Chances are you place some sort of value on it. After all, it shades the house and offers a cool place to relax on a hot summer day. But every time a storm moves overhead, your tree is in danger. A single lightning strike could end its life in a split second.

Trees can be protected from lightning damage by installing a lightning protection cable on the tree. This measure may sound a little silly at first, but it's not 'going out on a limb' to say that it's definately a wise idea, especially if you value that big oak in your front yard.

"Generally, a tree can have a lightning cable system installed on it for around $1500," notes Helen Southall of West Virginia Tree Expert and Nursery Co. in Ripley. "In most cases, that's less than it would cost to have the tree cut down after it got struck."

Indeed, removal expenses for a single tree can total more than $2000. Not only that, in some cases the loss of a large tree may reduce property value, and obviously have a significant impact on the overall appearance of a landscape.

Tree lightning protection systems are simply heavy, grounded cables attached to the trunk and running out along the tree's main branches. They'll divert a lightning strike's current safely to ground with no harm to the tree.

Most tree service companies offer lightning protection installations. Look in the Yellow Pages under 'Tree Services'. If you live in the Charleston-Parkersburg WV area and have a tree that you'd like to protect, give West Virginia Tree Expert and Nursery Co. a call at (304) 372-6382.

What can I do for a lightning-damaged tree?
Unfortunately, tree specialists say that there's not much that can be done for a tree that has lost a significant amount of bark. It's best to take measures to protect your tree before lightning strikes.

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