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Blog: Northern Virginia Tree Experts, Inc. > Have Trees? Do Not Let These Weeds Grow in Your Yard

Have Trees? Do Not Let These Weeds Grow in Your Yard

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When you think of pests that can affect your trees, you probably don't thinkof other plants. Instead, you probably think of insects like ants or termites.You may even think of borers and other beetles. Or, if you have young trees,you may even worry about deer that could strip the bark and stunt the trees'growth.

That being said, trees do face risks from other plants, such as thoseincluded in the list below. These parasitic plants don't just steal nutrientsfrom the soil around your trees. These parasites siphon vitamins and mineralsfrom the trees themselves.

1. The Tangled Hair of Dodder

What to Look For

The most common dodder species in North America are salt marsh, golden, andCalifornia. They grow in long vines, but they don't often grow leaves. Theymight appear as a snarl of bare, yellowish branches on your trees, somewhatlike woody hair. Some species have small flowers, but don't use the flowers asa deciding factor. If vines that look like unkempt hair cover your trees, thenyou have dodder.

How Dodder Affects Your Trees

Dodder can't use sunlight and soil to make its own nutrients, so it has torely on other plants-a fact which makes dodder a true parasite. Dodder growsinto your trees using root-like structures and snatches vitamins from thehosts' vascular systems.

Your trees need those vitamins and minerals to grow healthily and fight offdiseases. So, if the dodder gets those nutrients instead, your trees willweaken and eventually die. Dodder will continue to devour nutrients from yourtrees until it kills them and spreads to other plants in your garden.

How to Treat Dodder Infestations

Dodder is aggressive, so you will probably need a professional arborist toeliminate it from your trees. However, you can do some management yourself.Pull the dodder before it starts to seed, or cover your trees with protectiveplastic until you've removed the seeds from your yard. Remember to punch smallholes in your plastic so your trees don't overheat.

2. The Festive Cheer of Mistletoe

What to Look For

In North America, you'll usually find dwarf mistletoe, but you could haveany of a large number of mistletoe species in your yard. However, mostmistletoe species do resemble those sprigs of spiky leaves and bright berriesthat you see in winter holiday celebrations. The vines on mistletoe also havelarge seed nodules and a root-like texture that will spiral up your tree.

Essentially, if your tree starts to have leaves and berries that do notmatch its species, then you likely have mistletoe growing in your yard.

How Mistletoe Affects Your Trees

Mistletoe and dodder have a similar effect on their hosts. Mistletoe is alsoa true parasite in that it uses root-like structures to grow into your trees'vascular systems. This pest then weakens its hosts, but does not necessarilykill them-at least not by itself. Mistletoe's vampirism of host trees leavesthose trees more vulnerable to disease and insect pests.

How to Treat Mistletoe Infestations

As with dodder, you need to act fast to make sure mistletoe seeds don'tspread. Unfortunately, you can't just pluck mistletoe out of your trees. You'llhave to prune the affected areas to not only save the infested trees, but thehealthy trees as well. Once mistletoe takes root, that part of the tree willprobably not recover.

That being said, arborists might have additional specialized treatments thatthey can use to free and heal your trees. Contact an arborist in your area tolearn more.



Dodder and mistletoe represent only two parasitic plants that could threatenyour trees' health. If you notice anything unusual growing on your trees, callyour local experts for an evaluation.



Blog: Northern Virginia Tree Experts, Inc. > Have Trees? Do Not Let These Weeds Grow in Your Yard

Have Trees? Do Not Let These Weeds Grow in Your Yard

Share on Facebook
Tweet
When you think of pests that can affect your trees, you probably don't thinkof other plants. Instead, you probably think of insects like ants or termites.You may even think of borers and other beetles. Or, if you have young trees,you may even worry about deer that could strip the bark and stunt the trees'growth.

That being said, trees do face risks from other plants, such as thoseincluded in the list below. These parasitic plants don't just steal nutrientsfrom the soil around your trees. These parasites siphon vitamins and mineralsfrom the trees themselves.

1. The Tangled Hair of Dodder

What to Look For

The most common dodder species in North America are salt marsh, golden, andCalifornia. They grow in long vines, but they don't often grow leaves. Theymight appear as a snarl of bare, yellowish branches on your trees, somewhatlike woody hair. Some species have small flowers, but don't use the flowers asa deciding factor. If vines that look like unkempt hair cover your trees, thenyou have dodder.

How Dodder Affects Your Trees

Dodder can't use sunlight and soil to make its own nutrients, so it has torely on other plants-a fact which makes dodder a true parasite. Dodder growsinto your trees using root-like structures and snatches vitamins from thehosts' vascular systems.

Your trees need those vitamins and minerals to grow healthily and fight offdiseases. So, if the dodder gets those nutrients instead, your trees willweaken and eventually die. Dodder will continue to devour nutrients from yourtrees until it kills them and spreads to other plants in your garden.

How to Treat Dodder Infestations

Dodder is aggressive, so you will probably need a professional arborist toeliminate it from your trees. However, you can do some management yourself.Pull the dodder before it starts to seed, or cover your trees with protectiveplastic until you've removed the seeds from your yard. Remember to punch smallholes in your plastic so your trees don't overheat.

2. The Festive Cheer of Mistletoe

What to Look For

In North America, you'll usually find dwarf mistletoe, but you could haveany of a large number of mistletoe species in your yard. However, mostmistletoe species do resemble those sprigs of spiky leaves and bright berriesthat you see in winter holiday celebrations. The vines on mistletoe also havelarge seed nodules and a root-like texture that will spiral up your tree.

Essentially, if your tree starts to have leaves and berries that do notmatch its species, then you likely have mistletoe growing in your yard.

How Mistletoe Affects Your Trees

Mistletoe and dodder have a similar effect on their hosts. Mistletoe is alsoa true parasite in that it uses root-like structures to grow into your trees'vascular systems. This pest then weakens its hosts, but does not necessarilykill them-at least not by itself. Mistletoe's vampirism of host trees leavesthose trees more vulnerable to disease and insect pests.

How to Treat Mistletoe Infestations

As with dodder, you need to act fast to make sure mistletoe seeds don'tspread. Unfortunately, you can't just pluck mistletoe out of your trees. You'llhave to prune the affected areas to not only save the infested trees, but thehealthy trees as well. Once mistletoe takes root, that part of the tree willprobably not recover.

That being said, arborists might have additional specialized treatments thatthey can use to free and heal your trees. Contact an arborist in your area tolearn more.



Dodder and mistletoe represent only two parasitic plants that could threatenyour trees' health. If you notice anything unusual growing on your trees, callyour local experts for an evaluation.