Here’s what you should know about zombie trees and how to spot them

There are signs you can look out for to make sure they don’t threaten your property. Leuschner recommends starting at the base of the tree to see if the roots are anchored in the ground.

News 12 Staff

Oct 23, 2021, 2:38 AM

Updated 913 days ago

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With the spooky season now underway, arborists are warning of a scary threat that could be lingering in your yard. 
Ghost and goblins will go away after Halloween night, but zombie trees are here to stay. 
“A zombie tree is a tree that might have gotten damaged in previous storms but is still standing up and to the layman, it looks like a regular healthy tree but the next storm or at any point, the tree can fail,” said arborist representative at the Davey Tree Expert Company Couri Leuschner.
Zombie trees can create extremely dangerous conditions and cause serious damage when they fall during a storm. 
“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,” said Leuschner.
There are signs you can look out for to make sure they don’t threaten your property. Leuschner recommends starting at the base of the tree to see if the roots are anchored in the ground. 
He says he looks for cracks and deformities in the stem and looks for v-shaped unions in branches. He says he also looks at the canopy to see if it is lopsided or only growing on one side. 
Lastly, he says he also examines the lean of the tree to see if it is falling over.
“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,” he says.
The city’s Department of Parks and Recreation tells News 12 they conduct over 100,000 forestry inspections each year. 
New Yorkers can report a tree condition by calling 311.


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