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Mistletoe A Plague Of Global Warming?


Habsish

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Posted
  • Location: up a bit from from Chelmsford, Essex
  • Location: up a bit from from Chelmsford, Essex

    So some of us have in years past tried to get mistletoe to grow on a tree in their garden for a little bunch for Christmas. Usually with very little sucess.

    Now you find that your apple tree is plagued with the stuff. All due to global warming??? Drive round the country and look into the trees. Lime, popular, apple trees etc. now have dark clumps growing on them - mistletoe.

    How to get rid of it when it grows on a valued tree? Cut it out? Paint with creosote or what?

    No action and you have a dead tree.

    Probably whatever you do nobody nice will give you a lucky kiss.

    What to do to control this plague?

    H

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    Habish,

    I know the problem. Down here so many trees are covered with the stuff.

    I have just spent a day trying to cut out the infections from a valued apple tree.

    How does it grow and propogate? Once a branch is infected can it pop up anywhere along that branch?

    Advice please.

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    Posted
  • Location: up a bit from from Chelmsford, Essex
  • Location: up a bit from from Chelmsford, Essex

    Pitwood

    What does it grow on in your area?

    Any websites that anyone knows of where you can get further advice to control it?

    H

    Laburnham round here seems to be prime target.. Graden up the road has several trees thast just now seem to be covered in mistletoe.

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    Posted
  • Location: frogmore south devon
  • Location: frogmore south devon
    Habish,

    I know the problem. Down here so many trees are covered with the stuff.

    I have just spent a day trying to cut out the infections from a valued apple tree.

    How does it grow and propogate? Once a branch is infected can it pop up anywhere along that branch?

    Advice please.

    quite simple,when a bird eats the Berry's the seed sticks to it's beak,the bird then wipes the seed off it's beak on the branch of a tree and the seed then germinates on the branch

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    Posted
  • Location: Evesham, Worcs, Albion
  • Location: Evesham, Worcs, Albion

    Not sure of any relevance to GW but I do seem to recall a few years back a news story that mistletoe is in decline .... anyway, if you have it it's simple: cut it down in December and make loads of money selling it :)

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    Posted
  • Location: Kingdom of Fife: 56.2º N, 3.2º W
  • Location: Kingdom of Fife: 56.2º N, 3.2º W

    American site but readable with some good info http://www.mdvaden.com/mistletoe.shtml

    Like any weed, stop light falling on the green twigs and leaves and keep pruning any growth back and it will weaken the unwanted growth and eventually kill the plant. The host tree, if otherwise healthy shouldn't suffer unduly from a single pant but it readily propagates so you have to be vigilant and prevent an infestation swamping the host tree

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    Posted
  • Location: up a bit from from Chelmsford, Essex
  • Location: up a bit from from Chelmsford, Essex
    Not sure of any relevance to GW but I do seem to recall a few years back a news story that mistletoe is in decline .... anyway, if you have it it's simple: cut it down in December and make loads of money selling it :lol:

    My reference to global warming was to do with the occurrence of mistletoe has only become prevalent in my area in more recent years. The only change that I can identify is warmer winters and I assume more suitable growing conditions.

    It also seems to grow throughout a branch from an inital point of infection with small growths spouting out along the branches length.

    H

    American site but readable with some good info http://www.mdvaden.com/mistletoe.shtml

    Like any weed, stop light falling on the green twigs and leaves and keep pruning any growth back and it will weaken the unwanted growth and eventually kill the plant. The host tree, if otherwise healthy shouldn't suffer unduly from a single pant but it readily propagates so you have to be vigilant and prevent an infestation swamping the host tree

    I beieve one of the differences with weeds is it is a parasite and gains its nourishment from the host plant and not photosynthesis.

    H

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    Habsish,

    I see from the link http://www.mdvaden.com/mistletoe.shtml it says

    "Mistletoe is a misunderstood plant. It is only partially parasitic,Notice that the leaves of mistletoe are green; it produces some of its own chlorophyll. Therefore making some of its own food. It can become more parasitic in a drought when it takes water away from its host. Mistletoe dies if the host tree dies."

    Makes you wonder if a weedkiller like Round Up sprayed/painted on it would have any affect.

    P

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    Posted
  • Location: Ashford, Kent
  • Weather Preferences: Anything
  • Location: Ashford, Kent
    Habsish,

    I see from the link http://www.mdvaden.com/mistletoe.shtml it says

    "Mistletoe is a misunderstood plant. It is only partially parasitic,Notice that the leaves of mistletoe are green; it produces some of its own chlorophyll. Therefore making some of its own food. It can become more parasitic in a drought when it takes water away from its host. Mistletoe dies if the host tree dies."

    Makes you wonder if a weedkiller like Round Up sprayed/painted on it would have any affect.

    P

    Oh no, don't use roundup! It's systemic nature will likely make the tree very sick indeed.

    I suggest pruning off the infected branches if the tree looks lke it's suffering badly. You could try wrapping the branches with black polythene or similar to exclude the light, may take a couple of years though. I'm afraid that options are rather limited though and harvesting and selling it may be the best option to be get the best out of the situation!

    As to why there is more about now, well I'm not sure about the GW theory but maybe there is a case for the proliferation of trees planted in recent years. We've all been on a tree planting frenzy in the last decade or so, more hosts for Mistletoe?

    Or it could be that there are more abandoned orchards around acting as infection sources?

    All just guesses of course, I'm just saying there could be many reasons other than milder weather for the proliferation of mistletoe recently.

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    Posted
  • Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
  • Location: Aberdeen, Scotland

    Try having a read of the wikipedia entry:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mistletoe

    Links at the bottom to other information. INcluding this one:

    http://www.rmrs.nau.edu/mistletoe/dyn/faq.shtml

    'Mistletoes are parasitic plants with a root-like system imbedded in their host to extract food and water. The good news is that mistletoes are obligate parasites, which mean they survive only in living tissue. Pruning an infected branch kills the mistletoe on that branch. The bad news is that you cannot eliminate mistletoe from a tree unless all infected limbs are removed. If a tree were completely infected, you'd kill the tree if you removed all infected limbs. Often times there are less drastic measures you can take in order to enjoy your trees and tolerate mistletoe because mistletoes spread slowly and it takes many infections and years to kill a tree. There are two main types of mistletoes, true mistletoes and dwarf mistletoes, and each requires a different strategy for control.

    If you have an infected oak, maple or other hardwood or a juniper or cypress, you are dealing with a "true" mistletoe species. Birds feed on the berry-like fruits of these mistletoes and can widely disperse the seeds. These mistletoes have green leafy shoots, so they produce most of their own food and cause little damage to the host unless most of the tree is infected....

    If you have an infected pine tree or some other conifer besides juniper or cypress, your trees are infected with a dwarf mistletoe. These seeds are explosively discharged, so dispersal is near the site of the original infection. .....'

    In this country the Mistle Thrush is a common spreader of seeds (hence its name).

    Mistletoe became pretty uncommon - possibly because all the old orchards were ripped out and old native tree woodlands chopped down. As we recreate the native woodlands and tree stands, the plants and wildlife associated with them will also return, and mistletoe is an important part of the woodland ecosystem - a keystone species in fact.

    Here's a BBC article from 2005:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4500254.stm

    Also a Guardian one from last year:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/dec...lants-christmas

    So, it looks like a wet summer & mild winter combo is the main cause of a bumper Mistletoe crop.

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    Posted
  • Location: Worthing West Sussex
  • Location: Worthing West Sussex
    Try having a read of the wikipedia entry:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mistletoe

    Links at the bottom to other information. INcluding this one:

    http://www.rmrs.nau.edu/mistletoe/dyn/faq.shtml

    'Mistletoes are parasitic plants with a root-like system imbedded in their host to extract food and water. The good news is that mistletoes are obligate parasites, which mean they survive only in living tissue. Pruning an infected branch kills the mistletoe on that branch. The bad news is that you cannot eliminate mistletoe from a tree unless all infected limbs are removed. If a tree were completely infected, you'd kill the tree if you removed all infected limbs. Often times there are less drastic measures you can take in order to enjoy your trees and tolerate mistletoe because mistletoes spread slowly and it takes many infections and years to kill a tree. There are two main types of mistletoes, true mistletoes and dwarf mistletoes, and each requires a different strategy for control.

    If you have an infected oak, maple or other hardwood or a juniper or cypress, you are dealing with a "true" mistletoe species. Birds feed on the berry-like fruits of these mistletoes and can widely disperse the seeds. These mistletoes have green leafy shoots, so they produce most of their own food and cause little damage to the host unless most of the tree is infected....

    If you have an infected pine tree or some other conifer besides juniper or cypress, your trees are infected with a dwarf mistletoe. These seeds are explosively discharged, so dispersal is near the site of the original infection. .....'

    In this country the Mistle Thrush is a common spreader of seeds (hence its name).

    Mistletoe became pretty uncommon - possibly because all the old orchards were ripped out and old native tree woodlands chopped down. As we recreate the native woodlands and tree stands, the plants and wildlife associated with them will also return, and mistletoe is an important part of the woodland ecosystem - a keystone species in fact.

    Here's a BBC article from 2005:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4500254.stm

    Also a Guardian one from last year:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/dec...lants-christmas

    So, it looks like a wet summer & mild winter combo is the main cause of a bumper Mistletoe crop.

    Clean air is also having an effect on epiphytes. Less soot and acid rain increases the ability of lichens to survive, which in turn fix atmospheric nitrogen directly on the bark of trees (as well an on exposed stone, roofs and weathered concrete paving), as well as holding surface water, giving a mistletoe seedling a better chance of surviving the difficult transition from adhered surface seed to anchored semi-parasite. It is possibly increasing in the south of England http://www.mistletoe.org.uk/InBritain/InBr...I990sSurvey.htm

    You can reduce impact on affected trees by pruning some of the growth each year - sell it locally in early December - pubs may be interested. Inspect host trees for new seedlings, they can be removed with a sharp knife, taking some of the surrounding bark, coat the wound with vaseline, tape the area to exclude light. Common host trees in London area are apple, lime and False Acacia (Robinia).

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and lots of it or warm and sunny, no mediocre dross
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl

    There are still quite a lot of old cider orchards around here, particularly towards the Glastonbury area; many of the trees are laden with Mistletoe and have been for years. If it caused as much damage as it's alleged to, strapped for cash farmers would annihilate it, they don't, they leave it alone. It's rarely harvested for Christmas so they obviously don't treat it as an alternative cash crop.

    I think it's much maligned, any tree would have to have an enormous infestation to suffer any real damage, half a dozen large clumps will not kill a tree nor sap enough nourishment to cause any real damage. How about just regarding it as a wonder of nature and leaving well alone.

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