B.C.’s drought this past summer is expected to eventually kill many trees, but a forest pathologist said it might not be apparent which trees until the spring.

Stefan Zeglen with the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resources in Nanaimo said a significant number of trees are expected to die over the next year because of the dry weather from May to August.

The trees in shallow soil were hardest hit and most likely to be showing damage at this point, says Zeglan.

“We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg at this point. The trees that were in the most precarious positions that ran up a water deficit quite early are the ones turning red and dying on the roadsides or in your backyards.”

Zeglen says drought-killed trees are not a big safety risk right now because, while some trees may already be showing signs of dying, it can take a couple of years for the roots of a drought-killed tree to decay.

“Next year you will notice quite a few trees just standing around, not budding out in the spring. And that’s an indication that they are not going to survive or they have already died.”

A wind storm in August knocked down hundreds of trees across Metro Vancouver, cutting off power for more than 700,000 BC Hydro Customers. Arborists blamed the dry conditions for weakening the roots of trees.

Earlier this week a school girl was seriously injured when a tree fell on school yard in North Vancouver. It remains unclear why the tree fell.