Monday, May 16, 2011

Do Poplar Trees Attract Lightning?

I love hanging around in the vast yard at Carole's mom's place. Carole's late father did a good job of landscaping the space and of deciding which large trees to leave and he made some good choices in planting trees, also. I almost always concentrate on the two big hemlocks he planted when Carole was just a little girl (over 40 years ago). But there are some other cool trees in the yard.

One of these is a decent sized Yellow poplar tree. Carole's mom hates those trees and if a young one appears on the verges of the yard, she will immediately chop it down if she sees it. I asked her why she did this and she explained to me that "poplars attract lightning".


At first, this seemed like classic bullshit. How could any tree "attract" lightning any more than any other tree. So I did a little research. Apparently some folk contend that the content of starches and such in some trees actually makes those trees far more likely to be struck by lightning. I'm still not convinced and figure it's an old bit of rural bullcrap. But I could be wrong. At any rate, I hate to see almost any tree cut down for no good reason.


I do have a few exceptions. If I see a sweetgum appearing in the yard I will personally destroy it. I hate mucking about with those damned gumballs, even if the tree itself is relatively pretty. And Carole's mom planted a holly tree in her yard. If I ever get the chance I will chop down and kill that son of a bitchin' tree and do my best to eradicate every vestige of its existence.

The big back yard Yellow poplar.

5 comments:

Jack said...

It could be because Poplars tend to be one of the taller growing trees in our area. I have heard the same thing about Oak Trees. I think the fact is that all tall trees attract lightning!

HemlockMan said...

I've heard that old wive's tale for years. I just can't see where it holds water, though.

But Carole's mom will flat cut down any poplar tree that she sees popping up around her yard.

HemlockMan said...

But since you do point out that poplars tend to be the highest trees around, that could very well be the reason people started to say that they attract lightning. In most forests, the tallest tree you will find are tulip trees.

lar185 said...

well...another one in my yard in Ct just got nailed hard today again by lightning...I would listen to the old lady...she knows what she's talking about and a tree guy confirmed it here as well!

HemlockMan said...

Well, then. There you are...