'Zombie trees' in Central Florida: How to know if one is in your yard

Experts say a ‘zombie tree’ is to blame after one came crashing through the roof of a Daytona Beach home, nearly crushing a woman who was sleeping inside.

The name comes from the idea that the tree looks alive on the outside, but is totally dead on the inside. 

Firefighters say 89-year-old Katie Speed was in bed when she heard the tree crack and was able to roll off her bed and onto the floor to safety with just seconds to spare.

Arborist Christopher Forrest says even though a tree can appear healthy and sprouting green leaves, inside there could be all sorts of issues and decay. One thing to look for is cracks in the roots. He says those cracks appeared on the tree that came down in Daytona Beach and the decay is confirmed in the now exposed interior. 

RELATED: Woman nearly crushed by tree crashing through roof of Daytona Beach home

"As you can see the outside of the tree, the roots, the root color here you can see the decay coming down this way." 

Image 1 of 10

Drone footage shows the damage done to the 102-year-old home

Forrest adds knowing what type of trees are in your yard is important. He says the one that crashed through the Daytona Beach home was an oak tree, which only lives for about 30 years before it starts to decay.

If a tree is showing signs of decay and caught while it's still upright, it can be safely removed without damaging nearby structures. Emergency responders say now is the time to get your trees checked and removed before a hurricane takes matters into its own hands.