American Mistletoe (Phoradendron serotinum var. serotinum) Infection In Trees
University Outreach Publication
Monograph on the tree pest American mistletoe (Phoradendron serotinum var. serotinum).
Every Winter people notice mistletoe. Whether in holiday greenery or in deciduous trees, mistletoe is a
visible symbol of tree damage. Mistletoe negatively impacts both tree health and structure. Mistletoe is a
parasite which initiates branch decline and loss, wood decay and discoloration, animal and pathogenic entry
points into a tree, and oxygenation and drying of wood. Mistletoe commandeers growth resources from trees.
Early intervention is critical to maintaining tree health and structural integrity.
Mistletoe has a long history of being noticed and celebrated by humans. Spiritual blessings and curses
were centered around mistletoe. Some forms of mistletoe, especially when infecting a particular individual tree
or species of tree, were important in naturalistic religions or rites. The term “mistletoe” has a much less exotic
and revered background. Because mistletoe was thought to be propagated by bird droppings, the term mistletoe
is derived from Anglo-Saxon for “a twig with bird droppings,” or distantly derived from “a different kind of
twig.” Kissing under this parasite has many meanings.
Dr. Kim D. Coder
Warnell School, University of Georgia
Athens, GA, USA
Arboricultural Profession, Best Management Practices (BMPs), Biology (tree), Diagnosis and Treatment, Ecology, Evapotranspiration, Forest Health, General Tree care, Health (tree), Integrated Pest Management (IPM), Landscape Ecology, Plant Health Care, Protection (tree), Risk Assessment and Hazard, Stress & Stressors, Structure (tree)
Eastern, National, Mid-Atlantic, Piedmont, Southeast, Southern, Georgia