Zombie trees. It sounds like a title to a terrible B-movie horror flick that pops up in your Netflix suggestions around Halloween. In reality, zombie trees are actually a naturally occurring phenomenon, particularly if you’re living in the state of Texas.
As everyone recalls, not too long ago in February, parts of Texas experienced a harrowing snowstorm that disrupted everyday life for many Texans.
But the blip of bad weather also had a profound effect on the natural environment – in fact, more than might have initially been suspected.
Now that months have passed, there is a new problem emerging from the aftermath of the storm: zombie trees.
As it turns out, there are trees that were killed in the historic freeze, only they haven’t begun to exhibit the classic signs of being a dead tree. This actually makes them quite dangerous as one arborist explained to the Houston Chronicle.
Matt Petty said, “They’re trees that are dead and just don’t know it yet. They’re in decline with crippling health or safety issues that are not visible to the untrained eye.”
This dead but still somehow not showing the signs is what inspired the name, “zombie trees.” But while they might not actually shuffle after us and try to kill us, they can still pose a threat to safety.
For example, if a zombie tree goes unnoticed it could actually fall without warning and end up causing damage to a person or their property, like if it hits a house, a car, or power lines. Similarly, if a family has a zombie tree on their property without knowing it and their kids try to climb a limb, it could end in disaster.
The reason these trees are called zombie trees is that it is difficult to tell that the tree are not alive anymore. In some cases, a tree could look completely healthy from the outside but be completely rotted away on the inside.
There are some cases where the zombie trees have green leaves but the limbs look all brittle, or where the tree’s trunk is cracked or covered in fungi. Petty said that it won’t be until the proper heat of July and August hits that arborists will be able to quantify exactly which trees are zombie trees, and even then, it might take years in some cases for these zombie trees to reveal themselves.
There aren’t just a few zombie trees scattered across the state. According to ABC13, the Texas A&M Forest Service said there can be a decent number of them, as oak trees all across Texas seemed to have the hardest time coping and recovering from the big freeze.
It is now suggested that if you’re a homeowner and you suspect that you might have a zombie tree in your home or even in your neighborhood, you should follow up with an arborist for a proper diagnosis.
What do you think of these zombie trees? Have you ever spotted one? Let us know!Whizzco