You can’t have it both ways. You are saying the a strike … hit a … pine tree (which has a 30-40 foot tap root), but decided to completely ignore its already being deep underground and decided to come back up through a ground rod which is on the (lengthwise) opposite end of the house … and exists for the sole purpose of directing surges downward?
Again you are making assumptions rather than read what was posted. Did you see the phrase about earthborne charges miles away? Apparently not. Without understanding the principles, then you misrepresented what was posted; did not grasp what was posted. What was posted has been understood for most of the last 100 years. There is no contradiction. But there is a reader who is having difficulty dismissing and forgetting the myths he once believed.
In one location, surge protection was properly installed. Damage occurred. Why? In earth were veins of graphite. Since earth was not monolithic, protection system (earthing) needed upgrading. They had what you have described – pockets of more conductive earth.
Tightening grounds is nice. And does little for better earthing. For example, how does the 6 AWG ground wire connect to a ground rod? Up over the foundation and down to that rod. Sufficient to meet code. And insufficient for surge protection. That ground wire must go through the foundation and down; to be shorter, no sharp bends, separated from other wires, etc.
Meanwhile a lightning strike to the tree could have also forked off into AC electric, buried power line, etc. Most all strikes leave no apparent indication. With questions, we eventually discover they had no idea where lightning struck. They assumed - then converted assumptions into fact. Same problem is repeated often in this thread.
I provided only a sample of reasons why you had damage from a struck tree. As a novice, you might finally begin to learn this stuff in highly regarded application notes from Polyphaser:
Warning: this may be tough reading if too attached to many erroneous myths. Too many make assumptions and therefore need to reread it more often. You see contradictions only because you have not grasp some basic concept.
From information provided, your had damage because and the solution begins with earthing. If earth has pockets of more conductive earth (lime rock mines) or if a major pipeline passes nearby, then your earthing needs additional improvements. If at the end of a AC distribution system approaching from the west, then frequency of damage would be even higher – more corrections required. How to do this is more complex. But the description of your damage is typical of bad earthing and no ‘whole house’ protection.
Most homes are still built as if transistors do not exist. Surge protection starts when footings are poured. Many supplement a weak protection system with compromises. Some foolishly think a cold water pipe entering on the other side of the basement is good earthing. Wrong – for so many reasons posted previously.
Bottom line in any facility: if damage results, then corrections start with a study of earthing.