Broadleaf mistletoe infestation problems and information

Broadleaf mistletoe is an evergreen parasitic plant that grows on a number of landscape tree species in California. Some of the species include ash, alder, birch, box elder, cottonwood, locust, silver maple, walnut and zelkova.

Mistletoe problems

Broadleaf mistletoe is a flowering plant that produces small, sticky whitish berries attractive to birds.  The birds feed on and digest the pulp of the berries, excreting the living seeds which stick to any branches on which they land.

A heavy buildup of mistletoe often occurs within an infested tree because birds are attracted to, and may spend a good deal of time feeding on, the mistletoe berries.  After the mistletoe seed germinates, the mistletoe grows through the bark and into the trees water-conducting tissues. Where root like structures called haustoria develop.

Broadleaf mistletoe absorbs both water and mineral nutrients from its host trees.  Otherwise healthy trees can tolerate a few mistletoe branch infections, but individual branches may be weakened, or sometimes killed.  Heavily infested trees may be reduced in vigor; stunted or even killed especially if they are stressed by other problems such as drought or disease.  The most effective way to control mistletoe and prevent its spread is to prune out infected branches as soon as the mistletoe appears.

  If you have mistletoe in your tree and would like to have an evaluation, please give us a call.

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