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Mistletoe Tree Problem

Updated on September 4, 2010



Mistletoe is an evergreen parasitic plant that even though it may take quite some time it can be the eventual death of even an ancient Oak tree. In our area mistletoe is found predominantly in our Oak trees and is very aggressive in this area of the foothills of the Sierra Nevada's.

Mistletoe is a true parasite living entirely of its host rooting itself through the bark embedding itself firmly into the wood of the tree. In all cases the entire fork section of the branch of the tree must be effectively amputated. Normally Mistletoe roots itself in the smaller branches and nearly all trees infected can be saved. The healing and disease fighting hormones of the tree predominant in the branch collar and branch bark ridge region of the tree cannot fight off the infection if the branch is not trimmed back to the furthest lateral branch beyond the infection. The parasite is aggressive and shoots out microscopic tendrils rooting itself with barbs and hooks deeply in the cambium layer of the tree and beyond into the wood and the wood metamorphosis into the parasite.

Mistletoe spreads from the viscous (sticky) berries usually from birds this is the accepted view, however I have seen the pods burst to launch the sticky berries flying 30 or more feet through the air...Thus ; the name mistletoe, could be mistletoe, somebody might have made a mistake.

Mistletoe was revered by the ancient druids.The parasite has some medicinal values.

Written by Cerey E. Runyon-Tree Management 2006

---Description--- The stem is yellowish and smooth, freely forked, separating when dead into bone-like joints. The leaves are tongue-shaped, broader towards the end, 1 to 3 inches long, very thick and leathery, of a dull yellow-green color, arranged in pairs, with very short footstalks. The flowers, small and inconspicuous, are arranged in threes, in close short spikes or clusters in the forks of the branches, and are of two varieties, the male and female occurring on different plants. Neither male nor female flowers have a corolla, the parts of the fructification springing from the yellowish calyx. They open in May. The fruit is a globular, smooth, white berry, ripening in December.

Encyclopedic definition


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