The mistletoe gets water and nutrients from the host tree. Since it leaves contain chlorophyll, it can also produce its own food. The mistletoe plant thrives in sunlight, especially in the Central Texas area.
Trees Affected By Mistletoe
Different types of trees vary in their resistance to mistletoe.
The following trees are resistant to mistletoe:
• Chinese pistache.
• Crape myrtles.
• Golden rain tree.
• Conifers, like redwood and cedar.
While these trees are susceptible to mistletoe:
• Flowering pear.
• Box elder.
• Cedar elms.
• Silver maple.
Detecting Mistletoe Infection
If there is a large cluster of vegetation in the crown of trees that are susceptible to mistletoe infection, it is usually a sign of mistletoes.
Affects of Mistletoe Infection
While Mistletoes don’t usually kill the entire tree, they often stress tree health and kill tree branches. However, if a tree is heavily infested, it may be stunted in its growth. Sometimes heavily infested trees lose so much vigor that they die.
Mistletoe Treatment and Removal
It is not easy to get rid of mistletoe and many methods commonly used often fail. The best way to go about mistletoe removal is to call in experienced ISA Certified Arborist to do the work for you. A qualified arborist usually has spent more than three years learning about tree disease control and disease prevention methods.
Usually such an expert will initiate either mechanical or chemical control.
Mechanical control consists of measures like:
• Pruning out infected branches.
• Severe topping when trees are heavily infested
• Tree removal if infection is severe. This stop the spread of mistletoe seed to other nearby trees.
Chemical control consists of properly applying ethephon, a plant growth inhibitor.
Proper applications means:
• Completely wetting the mistletoe.
• Applying it in spring when temperatures warm and before the tree has new leaves.
• Applying it when temperatures are above 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Spraying only the mistletoe plants, rather than the whole tree.
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