(WTNH) — Does your yard have zombie trees? These trees may look perfectly healthy, but they’re really in trouble. Arborist Jeffrey Delaune with The Care of Trees in Hamden explains what homeowners need to know.

Tree Problems to Look For:

· Dead Wood or Decay- Dead trees and large, dead branches can fall at any time.

· Cracks – Deep splits through the bark that extend into the wood of the tree’s trunk or limbs.

· Heavy Canopies – Excessively thick branches and foliage catch more wind during stormy weather. This increases the risk of branch breakage and uprooting.

· Discolored foliage – Heavy flooding will cause leaves to wilt or die-back early.

· Root problems – Check if the soil near the base of the tree is lifting on one side. If construction has taken place nearby, closely examine that area of the tree. Nearby construction may sever large roots or compact the soil, reducing root growth. Without a strong root system, trees are more likely to be uprooted or blown over in storms.

· Poor tree architecture – Excessive leaning of the tree, or branches growing out of proportion with the rest of the tree crown. Odd growth patterns may indicate general weakness or structural imbalance.

Solutions: Keep trees healthy and safe.

Although defective trees are dangerous, not all of them need to be removed immediately. Ask a certified arborist about a tree’s risk level. Some defects can be addressed to prolong the life of the tree.

· Re-setting or staking trees that are unstable or leaning. This is more practical with smaller trees.

· Cable weak branches or V-shaped limb. Brace split trunks that need extra support.

· Proper pruning. Thinning the tree canopy allows wind to blow through it instead of against it as a sail.

· Fertilizing. A slow-release fertilizer replaces lost nutrients from the hot summer and the storms. It may also help improve resistance to damage from disease, insects and stressful weather.

· Plant New Trees and Shrubs. Select new trees that will thrive in your climate. Native trees typically survive storms more than exotic trees. Trees grouped in sets of five or more fare intense storms better. Add 2-3” of organic mulch to new trees, keeping mulch away from the trunk.

Always Ask:

· Homeowners should always check for TCIA Accreditation, ISA Certification, proof of insurance, and a list of references.

o TCIA Accredited Company: Safety and Efficiency

o ISA Certified: Knowledge and Ethics

o Safety Standards