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Author Topic: Electrocuted Chinkapin Oak  (Read 4543 times)

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Offline JUNEBUG 88

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Electrocuted Chinkapin Oak
« on: July 04, 2008, 01:21:02 pm »
During a storm 2 nights ago we saw a lightning strike in our yard very close if not at our huge Oak tree. There does not appear to be any damage to the tree such as burns, exploded limbs or bark off the tree. However, above the burlap strips we use to collect the Gypsy Moth caterpillars there are approx. 50 DEAD caterpillars. The 'pillars look as if they stopped in their little tracks, not burned, singed,curled up or anything.
Could they have been electrocuted? Heart attack?  ???
If electrocuted one wonders why do we not see dead birds and squirrels fall out of trees after electrical storms. Hopefully the tree has not been damaged as it is HUGE and would cost a fortune to remove.
Since the strike there have not been any caterpillars in the traps for 2 days and I was previously collecting 40-50 per day.
It may have solved the gypsy moth problem for now, but I am more worried about the tree.
Anybody ever see this, I will post a picture later

Offline Tom

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Re: Electrocuted Chinkapin Oak
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2008, 01:32:38 pm »
Welcome to the Forum, Junebug.

It is highly possible that lightning struck and didn't hurt the tree.  People live through it sometimes too.

Perhaps you have discovered a new method of controlling the Gypsy Moth.  :D
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Offline low_48

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Re: Electrocuted Chinkapin Oak
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2008, 09:02:22 pm »
I came home one day and saw bark all over the street. I went over to the tree and could see the lightning path all the way down the tree, top to bottom. I could see that the strike had gone through a squirrel nest. Over further in the yard lay two squirrels. One female, one male. The female had a burn line down her fur, right down the belly :'( So not all of them make it. The soft maple is huge, and is still alive a year latter. You can see discoloration in the bark and if you thump it, it don't sound right. Real glad it is in the neighbors yard! Hope those gal partners know how to run a chain saw, kinda doubt it.

Offline WildDog

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Re: Electrocuted Chinkapin Oak
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2008, 06:47:56 am »
Treat lightening with great respect, I was hit fencing in 1986 resulting in solidifided blood down my right side. Lightening struck trees account for a lot of dead livestock down my way. Personally we have lost 1 cow and a calf, in 2 separate incidents. One of my drovers last february had 4 cows killed by a strike, we were holding 450head overnight in a 50x50yrds paddock on the travelling stock route and lightening hit the tree 4 were camped under, 5 years ago 35 head were killed in one strike east of town.

When I was a jackaroo part of our wage was home killed sheep, if in full wool we had to shear them 1st, at that stage I couldn't shear so my boss struck a deal where i'd muster the killers in (sheep) he'd shear them and I'd dress/butcher his, on this day I went into the paddock to muster them and found 12 dead sheep in a circle around a stringy bark tree, all with there nose up each others bum, I thought it was a prank played on the "new guy" and went back to the shearing shed and fronted my boss about the stupid joke, it turned out lightening had hit the tree killing the sheep.

We have an iron stone ridge on our property that seems to attract lightening, I had 7 trees hit one storm, when I go out next I will get some pics of struck trees. Last summer we had to lower our 100 ft TV tower by crane to replace the booster box, the same storm took out the DVD/video and my electric fence energiser, this is the 4th energiser between $1700 and $2000 each......Insurance is a farmers best friend. ;)
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Offline woodmills1

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Re: Electrocuted Chinkapin Oak
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2008, 07:40:57 am »
If the tree wasn't hit maybe the caterpillers had heart attack because the bolt was so close. :D

I picked up a pine tree on wed that had been hit.  The top was blown apart.  It appears the energy went part way down then jumped over to the adjacent oak and blew chunks of bark and wood out of it.  The last 40 feet of the pine has a line down the bark but doesn't seem to be cracked.  I am going to saw the logs on the woodmizer so will know for sure if they are sound.

The home owner lost all of the elctronic devices in the house....tv's, phones, computors, microwave, etc
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Offline Texas Ranger

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Re: Electrocuted Chinkapin Oak
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2008, 09:44:32 am »
A while back we had metal rain gutters around our house, periodically the pine needles would clog the drains, I would have to go out and pull a plug of needles out.  I was watching it rain out the back door, when the gutters began to run over.  I could walk under the soffits and not get wet. 

AS I was opening the door, lighting hit a pine tree just off the edge of the house, lightning ran down the tree and jumped to the rain gutter.  I was semi stunned standing at the door, and a squirrel hit the ground, dead, in front of me. 

The lightning had sent an electro magnetic pulse through the house, the metal gutters basically a coil, and fried every electronic circuit in the house.

I took the gutters down.
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Offline JUNEBUG 88

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Re: Electrocuted Chinkapin Oak
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2008, 01:47:10 am »
THe gutter story is a bit scary since that is the time we find it most convenient to clean the gutters when it is raining hard. We unplug the drain of leaves,seeds etc and the water overfilled gutters self flush of debris. Maybe we will have to reconsider our cleaning times.

Possibly the lightning charged the wet ground around and up the Oak and several other wet trees as we have found dead caterpillars on several other trees in the past few days. smiley_idea

Our total of caterpillars found alive in the burlap traps is up to 5 today, that is far short of the normal count of 40-50 per day previous to the lightning.

At our cabin, lightning struck the power pole to the cabin and blew the outside power box off pole, then it traveled into cabin blew the fuse box 3' off the wall and put a huge dent into the metal closet door. It also went on to fry every outlet and anything connected to the outlets. There was a cable (not a power cable) near an outlet and it even carried the lightning bolt and it blew a hole through the garage wall under ground and then burned a scar up a tree where it dissipated. smiley_eek_dropjaw  Nobody was at cabin to witness the carnage and there was no fire luckily, but if someone were sleeping on the bed next to that closet with the fuse box they probably would have had a heart attack.

If only we could harness that power!


Offline JUNEBUG 88

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Re: Electrocuted Chinkapin Oak
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2008, 10:24:49 am »
A correction- the fuse box lid blew off. the lid blew off since the glass fuses all fused up and exploded against the lid, thus bursting the lid outwards.

Offline Tom

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Re: Electrocuted Chinkapin Oak
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2008, 04:58:01 pm »
It sounds like you need a good ground installed somewhere outside. Maybe you could keep it from entering the cabin.
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Offline low_48

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Re: Electrocuted Chinkapin Oak
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2008, 02:33:38 pm »
All these lightning stories reminded me of one my brother had. He came home after a thunderstorm and when he walked into the kitchen, he say the casette tape from the phone answering machine on the floor. He latter found a strip of burnt carpeting where the lightning had traveled down the phone line in the living room into the kitchen. We both kinda wondered how many rpms that machine ran to chuck that tape past the little door and onto the floor :D Luckily as well, no fire. Just a bunch of blownup electrical appliances.

Offline reberly

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Re: Electrocuted Chinkapin Oak
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2008, 11:27:19 pm »
Hi Junebug,
I would water the heck out of it just in case.  I read that lightning can do more damage under the ground than above.  The electricity runs down the the tree just like wires and burns all the capilary roots off since they are like wires with the lowest diameter.  They act like a million little fuses at once.  The tree loses its ability to pull water and dies of dehydration.  If there is any concern that it might have been hit, I would water it really heavily.
Good luck and I hope it missed,
Rich
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Online Jeff

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Re: Electrocuted Chinkapin Oak
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2008, 07:19:33 am »
Night before last we had a heck of a lighting Storm. about 2 in the morning I about fell out of bed from a sound sleep when one bolt hit very close.  The next morning the dogs and I went outside. The air smelt very strange. Tammy asked what I was sniffing and I said I didnt know.  About 15 minutes later the neighbor behind us was at the back door to tell me that another of our neighbors, probably about 250 yards as the crow flies away, had his home struck by lightening in the middle of the night, caught fire, and was a total loss. They all got out OK. All of their vehicles were in the attached garage and burnt as well.
Just call me the midget doctor.
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Electrocuted Chinkapin Oak
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2008, 07:29:38 am »
That is too bad Jeff.Fire is not a good thing when it comes to a home.I've seen what lighting can do to some of my trees in the woods.
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