A lightning strike can be up to a million volts, with temperatures as high as 36,032°F (20,000°C). Unsurprisingly, this can cause tremendous harm to a tree.

The effects vary, but in one instance, sap converts to steam and explodes. Another kind of arboreal injury is when lightning hits one side of a tree. The damaged side may experience dying branches, bark, and internal tissue death.

A tree’s fate can take three paths: it lives, the tree will die, or it half dies. The question then becomes, can a half-dead tree be saved? Should you cut off the dead part of a tree and salvage the rest?

You can rest easy because below is a guide on what to do for your half-dead tree.


What Does Half Dead Mean Regarding Trees?


“Half dead,” regarding a tree, means that the tree is unwell or dying on one side. It’s kind of deceptive to call a tree half-dead. These trees are in partially poor condition.

“Partial” means they can still grow. If a tree can grow, it’s technically not dead. This differs from a completely dead tree that has no metabolism and no longer performs healthy growth.

The tree is beyond saving at this point. A half-dead tree still has a shot, although whether you can save it depends on the circumstances.


Signs That a Tree Is Dying


A dying and a dead tree can look similar. But you should know what a half-dead tree looks like so you don’t waste time on something you can’t save.

One of the earliest signs your tree is dying will be odd-looking bark. To specify, the bark looks different from how it did before. Crumbling and flaking off is another sign the tree is unhealthy.

The answer to “Can a dead tree have green leaves?” is yes. That said, a dying one can too.

However, said leaves may not look too healthy upon close inspection. Spotted or discolored leaves are another symptom and may be due to disease or a lack of nutrients.

Weak and dry branches, trunks, and root or stem decay are other indications your tree is dying. The signs a tree is dead are:

  • Vertical cracking
  • Fungus growth
  • Sudden leaning
  • Lack of foliage


Reasons for a Half-Dead Tree


We have already listed lighting as one reason why trees often half die. The immense, superheated force causes severe, harmful scaring. But root damage also harms trees.

The injuries come from roots that have lifted from underground. Some harm comes from these roots’ inability to collect nutrients and water. Pests, diseases, and accidental lawn care injuries can hurt these roots.

Wood-boring insects are another cause of half-death inside trees. These bugs dig into the trunk and reproduce inside, leading to infestation. The wood-boring insects eat the bark and leaves, which deprives it of protection.

The catch to save trees besieged by bark and root disease is to catch the illness early. If the disease spreads too far inside the tree, you may need to contact tree removal services.

Removal helps prevent the spread of disease to other trees and plants in your yard. Compacted soil is when the soil is packed so tightly that water can’t reach tree roots.


Can a Half-Dead Tree Be Saved?


“Can I save my half-dead tree?” is a popular question among homeowners wanting to salvage an old oak or pine. “Should you cut the dead part of a tree?” is another popular inquiry. The answer to both is that you can.

Saving a half-dead tree involves a lot of work and pruning is tough for beginners. Pruning dead branches keeps them from spreading disease.

Pruning helps conserve the tree’s resources and concentrate on healthy growth. Removing a dead branch also benefits your health. These limbs can fall and injure you or others standing underneath.

Watering the tree aids its growth. Place your water hose two feet from the tree each night and allow a steady water stream to flow. Keep this up for two weeks and try again if there is no improvement.

You can set up a sprinkler system to manage tree watering for you if the hose is too inconvenient. Too much water is a hindrance to good tree health. Excess rainfall or poor soil drainage could be the culprit.

Homeowners can combat overwatering by introducing more sunlight or draining the soil. You can achieve the former by canopy reduction.

Soil management could be what the doctor ordered. Your tree may need fertilizer or aeration. Aeration is when you puncture the soil to promote airflow or drainage. Organic fertilizer is the best way to promote growth.

Mulching is another helpful method for saving a half-dead tree. Mulch regulates soil temperatures and moisture; it ensures the tree roots aren’t too hot, cold, or under-watered.


How Not to Save a Half-Dead Tree


There are many ways to save a dying tree. But these same methods can become detrimental if done improperly. For example, pruning dead limbs is fine. Pruning without a purpose isn’t a good idea.

It’s best not to bother if it isn’t for health reasons or to promote flowering (or fruit production). Be careful when you’re doing lawn work. Injured roots and trunks are entry points where pests and diseases can enter.

Over-mulching reduces oxygen flow and prevents bark from hardening – both are death sentences for trees. Homeowners must mulch at the right time. Apply before the summer heat before it gets too hot.

Make sure to water your tree if it’s too hot and dry. Don’t over-fertilize with organic or synthetic materials. Both can burn tree roots.


Finding Arboreal Care in Kokomo, IN


Can a half-dead tree be saved? It depends on how severe the issue is and how much work you’re willing to do. Pruning dead limbs, aerating soil, and mulching can revitalize a half-dying tree.

Performing these acts requires skills (and time) that the average homeowner may not have. That’s why you should rely on Grace Tree Service.

Our skilled professional team has served Kokomo, Indiana for over 20 years. We offer tree trimming, stump removal, and 24-hour emergency services. Contact us if you need help keeping your yard in shape.