Six facts about mistletoe and how to grow it

It might seem to be the wrong time of the year to be writing about mistletoe, but it’s at this time of the year when the berries are at their ripest and ready to introduce to your tree or shrub.

  • There are over a thousand mistletoe species worldwide, but the one we are most familiar with is the native British mistletoe, Viscum album.

  • Traditionally we associate mistletoe with apple trees, but you can also use hosts such as poplar, lime and hawthorn trees.

  • Mistletoe is one of a number of parasitic plants, gaining some of it‚Äôs nutrients from a root under the host‚Äôs bark.

  • The common name of mistletoe is derived from the berries being eaten by birds, usually the Mistle Thrush. The seeds are excreted by birds, complete with sticky mucus, and attach to the host tree or bush.

  • Mistletoe takes several years to become established. In the first year they bond with their host plant and only in the following year will produce leaves. The picture above shows a three year old mistletoe plant.

  • Avoid placing seeds on your most prolific apple tree as mistletoe can severely affect the crop. They are best placed on an older tree where cropping is not an issue.

To learn more about all things mistletoe take a look at these sites:The Mistletoe Pages Jonathan Briggs' blog Mistletoe TravelsThe Tenbury Wells Mistletoe Festival

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