Greetings fellow Foxies,
I am constantly reminded to avoid sheltering under trees in a storm. Most reminders are large branches and trees I find that are falling now at a much faster rate than they are being replaced. I wonder whether this is due to trees being less protected in isolated reserves, stronger winds or lower subsoil moisture. Either way, bird and wildlife habitats are being lost and a day will come when we will have to replace them to avoid dramatic local species loss.
Another reason became clear as I was exploring a granite outcrop in Borgey Block. I came upon large, jagged slabs of fresh wandoo trunk scattered through the rocks that surrounded a destroyed mature wandoo. A lightning strike had completely split the tree and blown stem pieces and branches around a twenty-metre radius. The tree had literally exploded with the trunk split down to ground level.
Surprisingly, it was still (barely) alive.
A friend who was did insurance assessments made this interesting comment "I have high respect for lightning; seen many trees split asunder and of course many insurance claim inspections on livestock victims.
Always fascinates me how different tree species carry a lightning charge. Most Wandoos literally blow up and scatter everywhere, red gums carry similar damage but sometimes just shatter in the upper trunk, Jarrah carries the charge down the outside of the trunk like a chisel groove and York gums often just pop off branches or top trunk. I don’t think I have ever seen a lightning strike on a salmon gum even though they are often the tallest, single tree in the neighbourhood"
This fascinating article shows that lightning can have a range of effects on a tree