I have lights in my oak, any ideas?

Looking straight up into oak tree branches
Photo credit: Lynn Ketchum
Q:

My husband and I noticed these violet/bluish lights glowing in the tops of all the oak trees across the street last night as we watched the meteor shower, It's important to note that the meteor shower was in the opposite direction of the Trees and they were stationary, unlike the meteor shower. It's also worth noting there are afew dozen of these oak trees and they all have these lights. Shedding any light on this subject no pun intended would be much appreciated.

- Lane County, Oregon
A:

Sparkling oak trees sounds like a great bonus to a meteor shower! You’re lucky. It’s hard to say what might actually be going on without seeing it myself, but I have a few thoughts. The local fairies came out to dance under the majestic light show. :) that would be fun! Or just to rule out the obvious... It’s the time of year for Christmas lights :) Do your neighbors have them up? If there is a pond, icy area, or other reflective surface behind the oaks you may have been seeing a reflection. Do the oaks have electric wires through the branches? If so, there is a slight chance that the electricity is arcing to the branches and causing sparks. You can call your PUD to check this out if you think this is a possibility. If you haven’t seen the lights again then these suggestions can probably be ruled out. If there are Douglas fir trees in that area too then it may have been the Douglas-fir glow worm. They are rare and glow green, but typically do their shinning in the fall. This may have been what you were seeing and the colors got distorted from the shower. Ok I’m out of ideas. Hope this helps.

Lauren Grand
Extension Forester
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