Is Mistletoe Harming My Tree?
February 3, 2015
While the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe might seem sweet, the reality of what mistletoe does to our trees in the landscape is not so nice! If you have hackberry, cedar elms or oak trees in your landscape, or if your neighbors have mistletoe, there is a good chance you have mistletoe lurking about.
What is mistletoe?
Mistletoe is a parasite. It roots into the vascular system of its host tree to suck up precious moisture and minerals it needs to survive. If you have trees weakened by drought, construction damage or pests and disease, mistletoe can have a much bigger impact. If the mistletoe is not removed from the host branch, it will continue growing until the host branch eventually dies off. Once dead, the branch could cause damage to your home or property.
Because we have heavy storms here in the DFW area, it’s always important to remove mistletoe, hazard branches and deadwood before the next storm happens. Branches that are weakened by mistletoe are more likely to break during a storm or heavy rainfall.
How does mistletoe get into your trees?
Birds and squirrels are the biggest reason mistletoe spreads. They move the seeds from tree to tree as they forage for food, perch or build nests. Mistletoe goes to seed every three years so it’s best to remove it at least every other year so that it can’t reproduce.
Is mistletoe invading your trees? Now, while trees are dormant, is the optimum time to remove it. It’s always best to remove mistletoe before trees bud out in spring. Since mistletoe depletes trees of nutrients, it’s also important to fertilize infected trees. Give us a call right away to schedule your appointment for mistletoe removal.