What is Mistletoe and How Does it Impact My Trees?

If all you know about mistletoe is that people kiss under it, you are not alone. Mistletoe can be found in many homes around the holidays to embrace romance. There is more you should know about mistletoe besides that it is a hanging decoration encouraging smooching. Many homeowners may have mistletoe on their trees in the backyard. Our team at 770-Tree-Guy wants to help you get to know mistletoe and protect your trees.

What You Should Know About Mistletoe:

What is Mistletoe?

Mistletoe is the much easier to say common name for hemiparasitic plants from the Santalales family. Hemiparasitic means that it is somewhat parasitic, but it is also capable of photosynthesis. Because it is parasitic in nature, mistletoe can be problematic for a host plant if it becomes overrun.  

Why is Mistletoe used in Holiday Traditions?

If you trace back far enough, you can find that mistletoe has been connected to love and fertility in Greek and Norse folklore. Somewhere around the 18th century, mistletoe became a widespread part of holiday tradition. The kissing tradition is believed to have started among English servants and later spread to middle class society as well. The idea was that a man could steal a kiss from any woman while she was standing underneath the mistletoe. If she refused, it was believed to be bad luck for her. Although most people probably do not believe the bad luck part anymore, mistletoe is still a part of some families’ holiday traditions each year.

What Are The Benefits of Mistletoe?

Mistletoe has been used for hundreds of years medicinally for conditions, such as cancer, asthma, hypertension, epilepsy, infertility, and arthritis. Before you start snacking on mistletoe from your backyard, realize that mistletoe injections from a medical professional are not the same thing as eating berries in the backyard. We do NOT advise anyone to ingest mistletoe under any circumstances.

What Are The Downsides of Mistletoe?

Mistletoe can be poisonous when ingested. You need to especially watch your pets and children because they will be unlikely to handle the poisonous berries as well. An additional drawback is the impact of mistletoe on your trees. Your tree may be able to host some mistletoe, but mistletoe has the potential to stunt your tree’s growth and even kill your tree. If your tree appears to be overrun with mistletoe, consider pruning the mistletoe back. We can help you with professional pruning if needed to get your mistletoe under control.

We wish you and yours a magical and romantic holiday season! If your trees are not feeling the love with too much mistletoe around, give 770-Tree-Guy a call today for a professional solution.