ORLANDO, Fla. — They may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, or even something from 2020, but they will be with us into 2021 and for years to come.
They are zombie trees! They are trees that look alive, but are slowly dying on the inside.
With winter upon us and many trees losing their leaves, how do you know if your tree is turning into a zombie?
Here are 9 things you need to know about zombie trees:
-SIGNS: They don’t necessarily show signs right away, so it can difficult to determine if you have a Zombie tree.
-DAMAGE: Damage can start from a previous hurricane, leading to the tree’s internal heartwood to begin to decompose. Local trees weighing up to 10 tons rely on this heartwood for support.
-FUNGUS: Look for fungus along the trunk which could indicate internal decay.
-UPROOTING: Look for uprooting, and insect damage, such as termites. These can be signs of your tree rotting from the inside.
-NOT ALL TREES: Not all suspicious looking trees are zombie trees. Winter in Florida is like fall up north, where some trees lose their leaves. Right now, as trees are starting to go dormant, they’re storing all of their energy more toward the base of the tree this time of year.
-VULNERABLE TREES: The more vulnerable trees are laurel oaks and sometimes elms, and maples to some extent, but not palm trees.
-BREAKING: Zombie trees often break and fall during heavier thunderstorms in the summer. They can also fall when the weather gets very dry, and the trees aren’t absorbing enough moisture anymore.
-MISTLETOE: Another possible sign is when you look up into the trees and see large green clumps, that’s mistletoe, what mistletoe; mistletoe slowly sucks nutrients out of the tree, causing damage.
-ARBORIST: If you suspect you have a zombie tree, call your local arborist, who is licensed and insured to deal with tree issues.
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