BACKGROUND: Mistletoe in Britain grows mainly in the SW Midlands of England. Within that area most of the seasonal mistletoe harvest comes from traditional apple orchards - apple being mistletoe's favourite host tree.
Outside this area (and also within it) mistletoe's other primary habitat is in gardens where it is usually planted on fruit, particularly apple, trees. It also grows on many other garden shrubs and trees. In gardens it is often highly-valued, especially when it is outside the main mistletoe-growing region. Concerns over mistletoe rarity (though these are sometimes based on misunderstanding of its natural distribution) contribute to this appreciation and pleasure of having garden-grown mistletoe.
Mistletoe, being only semi-parasitic, is not usually a problem in modest amounts. But there have been suggestions that over-cautious pruning (possibly linked to worries about rarity etc) might mean that some garden mistletoe is being allowed to grow unchecked on its host. This can lead eventually, though only after several decades, to the mistletoe taking over too much of the tree and causing premature death of both tree and mistletoe. But is this really a problem? Is garden mistletoe being left unmanaged, is it well-managed, or does it simply never become a problem in a garden situation?
This 'Garden Trees with Mistletoe' survey project aims to gather data on mistletoe management in gardens. It is a sister project to the similar Orchard Trees with Mistletoe survey project.
If you have mistletoe in your garden trees please take a few minutes to fill in the survey form. Click the link below to take part:
If you have more than one fruit tree type (apples, pears, plums etc) or variety (Pippins, Russets, Bramley etc) then please also consider taking part in the Mistletoe's Favourite Fruit Trees survey project too.
Results will be available in the public domain when sufficient data have been collected.
About this project:
This is one of several survey projects launched as the Mistletoe League in 2011/12. The overall project is an initiative from Mistletoe Matters, a small mistletoe consultancy in Gloucestershire, England. It has arisen following many years of witnessing the mistletoe/fruit tree problems apparently worsening, but with no hard data to quantify the problem. Rapid results are not anticipated! The project is likely to run for several years, building up more information each winter season from 2011/12 onwards.
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