Watch Out for ‘Zombie Trees’

Treelined street in front of houses

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Homeowners may unknowingly be haunted by a “zombie tree” hiding in their yard. These trees may appear to be alive and even still green and full of foliage, but are dying inside in a way that could threaten nearby homes or the safety of those around them, a recent article at® warns.

How can you spot one? “Homeowners should be on the lookout for dying limbs, holes in the trunks, or signs of fungus growing near the roots in the soil or the bark of the tree,” Marc Mayer, director of technical operations at TruGreen, a lawn care company in Memphis, Tenn., told®. “The fungus may appear as discoloration, wiltering leaves, or growth of mushrooms.”

These trees are at risk of falling, which could damage a home or anyone around them.

Zombie trees can be caused by a variety of factors, such as lightning, hard freezes, diseases, or insect damage. The trees also may have been disturbed during construction. “Root rot and root disturbance due to construction … can take several years to manifest because many trees are resilient,” Mayer told®.

Homeowners should contact a tree care specialist to assess the health of their trees and check into removal if they suspect they have a zombie tree.

Read more about the importance of tree care in real estate:

Don’t Overlook the Trees, Buyers Aren’t

Best and Worst Trees for a Listing

Legal Know-How: Taming the Neighbor’s Trees

When to Hire a Tree Specialist