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Oak Pests - A Guide to Major Insects, Diseases, Air Pollution and Chemical Injury

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Phoradendron spp.

Importance. -- Branches beyond the mistletoe infection may be stunted and even die. Trees usually are not killed. However, in heavy infections on water oak, trees may decline and be killed. These "true" mistletoes are used for Christmas greens.

Identifying the Causal Organism (figure 72). -- Leafy, evergreen perennial shoots with dark green, leathery leaves occur in bunches on branches of oaks. The plant is opposite-leaved and the stems are rounded and jointed. The flowers are inconspicous. White to red berries are produced in the fall.

Identifying the Injury. -- The most conspicuous sign of mistletoe infestation is the presence of the parasite. The affected branch may be slightly enlarged at the base of the mistletoe plant. Multiple mistletoe plants in an oak crown may stress the tree

Biology. -- The seeds are sticky and are spread by birds and other animals. The seeds lodge on young branches, germinate, grow into the young branch and produce a mistletoe plant.

Control. -- Control is normally not needed but mistletoe can be controlled by removing it and cutting branches at least 1 foot below the point of attachment.


Figure 72
Figure 72 (close-up)
Figure 72. -- Mistletoe infection; close-up and as seen in a tree crown.
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