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If mistletoe is synonymous with good luck during the holiday season, it is also capable of destroying in a few years our fruit trees: apple, almond, mountain ash and other lime trees. Follow the advice of François Pauly, head of the Jardiland plant sector, to prevent it from invading the trees in your garden.
What is mistletoe?
Implanted on the stem or branches of trees and drawing water and soluble mineral matter from it that it cannot extract directly from the ground, mistletoe (Viscum album) is a parasitic plant that develops on contact and at the expense of a host tree. He believes in a large part of Europe, in areas defined in particular by the climatic factors which are favorable to him (water, temperature and light). Its presence results in a certain exhaustion of the tree.
How does mistletoe settle and develop on a tree?
Dispersed more or less long distance by birds, the appearance of mistletoe is a sign of the poor health of a tree: disease, poor exposure or malnutrition. Mistletoe from deciduous trees (Viscum album album) is mainly found on apple and poplar trees but also on hawthorn, mountain ash, lime trees and, to a lesser extent, on willows, almond trees, maple trees and Robinia. The mistletoe of the fir (Viscum album abietis) grows especially on the White fir (Abies alba). Pine mistletoe (Viscum album pini) grows on various species of pine. To develop, mistletoe settles by hanging on the branches thanks to sorts of suckers which are introduced under the bark and pump the sap of the tree. Gradually consuming the tree's food, the tree no longer manages to eat properly, hence its gradual weakening.
What time of year does it appear on trees?
Mistletoe appears during the vegetation period, but it is more visible when the trees have no leaves.
What technique should be adopted to permanently eradicate mistletoe?
Take care to maintain the tree well so that it remains healthy throughout the year and eliminate mistletoe as soon as it appears on the tree. To do this, cut it flush with the branch with a sharp tool (bill hook or pruning hook) depending on the size of the tuft. If the branches are too affected, do not hesitate to cut them with a table saw. Using the mop, then dig inside the branch to remove the affected part and eradicate the existing suckers. If there are still suckers, a new clump may appear the following year. So don't hesitate to dig deep. Finally, cover the wound with a healing product (graft putty).