Though the storm was months ago, residents are still feeling its effects.
The deadly winter storm back in February greatly impacted the state of Texas. And it still is. Even now, several months after the fact, Texans aren't yet out of the woods. As reports indicate, "zombie trees" pose a threat to homeowners as the summer quickly approaches.
What are zombie trees, you ask? Matt Petty, an arborist, told the Houston Chronicle that not all of the trees killed from the storm appear to be dead. "They're trees that are dead and just don't know it yet," Petty said. "They're in decline with crippling health or safety issues that are not visible to the untrained eye."
Some trees may have greens leaves but are a bit brittle. Others may have cracks or fungi on the bark. And sometimes, there are no obvious signs at all from the outside; meanwhile, the trees could be rotting inside.
"Trees are resilient," Petty said. "It could be years before they show signs of stress."
According to Petty, the vascular systems in some trees—ones that are exposed to extremely cold temperatures—can become freeze-dried. This becomes a hotspot, of sorts, for fungus and insects to move in.
"Imagine you have a straw and you're sucking on a milkshake," he explained. "Suddenly, that straw collapses."
So what does this mean for Texas homeowners?
Well, should the problem go undiagnosed, the zombie trees can fall without warning—a threat that poses risks for both people and their property. It's recommended that residents contact their local arborists to check out their trees.
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