If You See a Tree That Looks Like This, Call Officials Immediately
This kind of tree could be a potential danger to you or someone else.
We don't like to think about it, but our yards are full of things that can harm us. Maybe it's a snake hiding alongside your garden hose, or a venomous spider just waiting to bite. But it could also be something as unassuming as a tree. Over past year, a number of experts have issued warnings about one kind of tree in particular, which could be a serious potential danger to you or someone else. Read on to find out what tree you should be keeping an eye out for.
You should be on the lookout for dangerous "zombie" trees.
Recently, experts have been warning people to watch out for trees that may look alive, but are actually decaying or dying on the inside. These aptly named "zombie" trees could become dangerous to both you and your property, as their weakened state may cause them to fall unexpectedly.
"They're trees that are dead and just don't know it yet," Matt Petty, an arborist who works with the Davey Tree Expert Company, told the Houston Chronicle. "They're in decline with crippling health or safety issues that are not visible to the untrained eye."
Couri Leuschner, an arborist representative also with the Davey Tree Expert Company, told News 12 that during your area's next storm, a zombie tree could easily fall. "I've gotten calls where trees fell on people's houses, and obviously that is the worst-case scenario, people losing heat through their roof or attic, and I've had calls where trees fall on people's they cars and no one wants to lose their car," Leuschner said.
There are some noticeable characteristics of zombie trees.
Not all zombie trees look the same, but there are some noticeable characteristics you can look for. These trees are likely to look healthy on first glance, but diving in a little closer may show tell-tale signs of decay in the way their limbs hold up, the way they stand, and any deformities they may have.
"Homeowners should be on the lookout for dying limbs, holes in the trunks of trees, or signs of fungus growing near the roots in the soil or the bark of the tree," Marc Mayer, director of technical operations at lawn care company TruGreen, told Realtor.com. "The fungus may appear as discoloration, wilting in leaves, or growth of mushrooms."
You should also take note of any trunks with deeps cracks or trees that "lean more toward one side than another," Ryan Smith, owner of Ant and Garden Organic Pest Control, told the news outlet.
If you think you've seen a zombie tree, you should call local officials.
Since zombie trees have the potential to become dangerous at any moment, it's important to call a local official immediately if you think you've seen one. Experts can then do one of two things—save the tree or take it down.
"The best course of action is to get a certified arborist to come, take a look, and see what they can do. Best case scenario we can fertilize it, cable it, prune it, enhance the structure of it, and worst-case scenario, we'll have to take the tree down," Leuschner explained to News 12.
And don't take matters into your own hands when it comes to removing a zombie tree. "Climbing up on ladders with power tools can be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing," Jason Grabosky, a professor working with Lawnstarter.com, told KHOU 11. "Hire a professional to remove your dying tree."
Experts say these trees are more prevalent now than in years past.
While experts have been warning about the potential danger of zombie trees for some time, they say it has become even more of a problem this year. Jason Reitter, a district manager for the Davey Tree Expert Company, told CBS New York that he's seen more and more dead trees this year that years' past, largely due to pests and weather.
In fact, zombie trees are particularly "becoming more and more of an issue due to climate change," Jeremy Yamaguchi, the chief executive officer of Lawn Love, told Realtor.com. "Severe drought is a huge culprit, but things like fire damage to the soil and flooding from hurricanes can also create issues for trees. Beetle infestations are a major issue, especially in humid environments."