Question: Several of our trees have mistletoe. How can we eliminate it? What types of trees are most prone?
Answer: To a gardener, there is nothing romantic about mistletoe. Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that actually produces its rooting structures into the limbs of its host trees. There are no effective and “safe” chemical sprays as yet, but you can prune it out before it gets really large. Usually it will start on comparatively small twigs. If you clip it out of the tree at that point it won’t get large enough to fruit and reproduce. Use a long-handled pole pruner. Once it’s well established, however, you may have to saw out entire limbs, or else console yourself simply to make shallow scalloped cuts to get the worst of it off the tops of the limbs. The sticky seeds are spread by birds onto new limbs. Prime hosts: cedar elms, hackberries and, less commonly, oaks, among others.