If you have looked at the top of oak trees during the winter months, you have probably noticed round balls of branches that might be mistaken for a bird’s nest. These clumps are actually mistletoe, the same mistletoe used in holiday traditions.
Mistletoe is actually a parasite. When birds eat mistletoe berries, its seeds are deposited on neighboring branches and trees in the birds’ droppings. The parasite grows roots into the branch and leeches nutrients from the tree. You will most likely find it in oak trees, although it can affect many species of deciduous trees.
Is Mistletoe Harmful To My Tree?
One clump of this parasite isn’t likely to injure your tree, nor are three or four. The problem is that once established, it has a high propensity to spread to other branches
and even other trees. So a single plant can quickly become an infestation. In large populations, the tree may have trouble producing enough nutrients to support itself and the canopy can be disrupted. This increases stress on the tree and reduces the shade quality produced.
How Can I Remove Mistletoe?
Mistletoe often lives at the top of the tree, inaccessible to homeowners. (For pruning you can do yourself, take a look at our article on pruning) A boom truck is typically necessary to safely access the affected branches. We are sometimes able to access affected branches by high climbing.
Since mistletoe is rooted into the branch, the affected branch must be removed or the plant might regrow. In any case, for your safety and the health of the tree, the parasite should be removed by an experienced professional.
How Much Will It Cost to Remove?
The cost will vary depending on the size of the tree, accessibility, and the number of branches affected. Contact us to request a free estimate.