‘Zombie’ trees pose a threat to power lines, homeowners

‘Zombie’ trees pose a threat to power lines, homeowners

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - With summer winding down, more “zombie” trees are being seen across Memphis, and these trees are no Halloween joke.

Each year, MLGW sets aside $20 million for tree trimming and maintenance.

WMC5 toured one Memphis park to spot zombie trees, some of the most susceptible trees in storms.

Zombie trees are trees with branches arching over our homes and sidewalks, but inside they're dead.

“When I hear the word zombie, I think about the undead. Right?” said Nathan Baker, a board-certified master arborist. “They are still walking around but they can still pose a threat to you. They can come and bite you. Or anything like that. So when I see zombie trees I think about these trees that are still standing, still up there, but have a chance to come down and cause some property damage.”

Baker said zombie trees are all across Memphis.

“If you think about it, we had a long time in the summer where we didn't have a lot of rain, high temperatures,” Baker said. “That's prime conditions for trees going into stress and dying.”

If you’re looking for zombie trees In your own yard, Baker said to look at the tops of the trees for large dead limbs, and take note of any leaves falling off the tree prematurely.

Baker said these trees come down first in storms, knocking down power lines.

“We’ve got a lot of these really large trees that are overly mature,” Baker said. “Those trees in particular are prone to dying and then you have the issue where the limbs break off and fall on the lines and cause the outages.”

The best thing to do if you think you have a zombie tree in your yard is to call an arborist.

The tree could either need only a trim or possibly be removed.

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