Mistletoe is a parasite that lives by feeding off the host tree. It robs the host tree of water and nutrients. If not controlled early, it can spread quickly throughout the tree. Mistletoe reduces tree vigor and if left unchecked it can kill the host tree. Mistletoe is most harmful to maple trees, poplar trees, apple trees, oak trees and others.
Mistletoe is spread during the winter months when the sticky white berries are present. Birds spread the seeds when the berries stick to their bodies as they move from tree to tree. Birds also spread the seeds in their droppings.
Mistletoe is more obvious during the winter months when dormant trees have lost their leaves. Winter is a good time for removal of the parasite. The best method of control is removing affected branches 12 inches below the growth. Care should be used to drop the branches directly to the ground and not onto lower branches where the berries may stick to the bark. Smaller branches can be removed, but when the mistletoe is growing on the trunk or a large branch it is best to cut the mistletoe close to the trunk and wrap the branch with heavy black tape. Outdoor pipe wrap tape works well. Excluding the light will kill the mistletoe over time, but additional applications of the tape may be necessary.
Call one of our Certified Arborists for a free estimate to remove mistletoe from your trees and maintain optimal tree health.