Mistletoe is a parasite that derives its nutrients and moisture from a host plant. Mistletoe infections, left to develop in a tree, reduce the tree’s health overtime and can lead to weakened areas in larger limbs, potentially resulting in limb failure (breakage). Mistletoe is a parasite that remains evergreen. Its nearly translucent white berries ripen after the yellow flowers bloom from fall into winter.
Once the mistletoe plant matures, seeds are produced which spread throughout the tree’s canopy, causing multiple new infection sites. Mistletoe management should be directed toward the removal of entire branches or twigs infected with mistletoe.
When large limbs or limbs critical to the structure of the tree are infected, the mistletoe should be removed leaving the essential limbs. However, regrowth will occur throughout the year. On average, mistletoe removal will be necessary every two to three years as part of a regular tree maintenance program. This will address regrowth of old infections as well as new infections that will constantly occur on susceptible species. North Central Texas has a number of susceptible species, many of which are growing in our residential landscapes. Cedar Elm is by far is the most commonly infected tree species. Other susceptible trees include American Elm, Hackberry, Mulberry, Ash, Texas Red Oak, Mesquite, and Bois d’ Arc. Mistletoe can be removed at anytime of the year. However, it is more visible during the dormant season, and in most cases more easily removed during this time of year.
Contact your Arborist for mistletoe removal recommendations.
Professional Mistletoe Removal
related article: Winter is prime time to manage mistletoe (opens in new window)