The Significance Of Mistletoe


When we think of mistletoe, we think of the holidays. We think of red and green, watching Christmas movies, getting together with our loved ones, celebrating with coworkers, and of course, the iconic decoration that has symbolized new beginnings, even love. Indeed, the seemingly timeless tradition of having to kiss someone when you both are standing underneath the mistletoe has practically become a part of cultural reference, even if it is not practiced.

Yet there’s a hidden side to mistletoe, one that affects people and trees all across Texas. Specifically in the Austin and Round Rock areas, Brents Tree Service offers tree care to help combat the effects of a seemingly harmless holiday symbol. Read on to find out more about mistletoe, and call Brents Tree Service for a free quote on tree trimming, tree removal, and more!

The Tradition

As many are aware, mistletoe is sometimes hung up in houses around the holidays. When two people find themselves both standing underneath the mistletoe, tradition states that they have to kiss. This has sparked many a Christmas song lyric or movie reference, thus indicating the love that mistletoe has come to stand for. However, the roots of mistletoe being used as a holiday decoration go back pretty far.

In Norse mythology, mistletoe was a symbol of love and friendship, which is where some of the earliest examples of kissing are thought to have come from. Throughout earlier Christmas celebrations in western Europe, mistletoe began to be hung up in houses around the holidays. This tradition continued to spread, especially as people began to leave Europe and settle elsewhere around the world.

The Truth

Many, if not most, people probably are unaware that when they’re hanging mistletoe up in their homes around the holidays, they’re actually decorating with a parasite. It’s true—mistletoe is a parasite, and a tricky one to combat at that. As CBS reports, “Mistletoe is an evergreen pest that attaches itself to trees, plants, and shrubs, stealing their nutrients and water. This can weaken or disfigure the host plant, and eventually even kill it.”

Not only is mistletoe poisonous to the trees it infects, it’s poisonous to humans as well. Ingesting any part of mistletoe is highly dangerous, with symptoms ranging from drowsiness to vomiting, and even seizures. Having mistletoe is not only bad for your health, but it imposes a huge risk to pets as well.

CBS also reported that mistletoe, in addition to being dangerous to trees and people alike, is incredibly difficult to get rid of. An article explains that, “When its seeds sprout, they grow through the bark of trees and into their tissues, extending up and down within the branches. Even if you cut off the visible portion of the invader, new plants often grow from inside the host.” It’s important to contact a trusted tree service company like Brents Tree Service to help remove mistletoe. Removing mistletoe is hard to do, but is an effective way to help save a tree—and potentially a life or two as well.

The Treatment

Interestingly enough, while mistletoe is toxic when ingested, it has been looked at from a medicinal standpoint for years. People have relied on mistletoe to treat a number of maladies, from headaches to hypertension and more. It is still being studied in labs to see if it could provide a treatment option for cancer. However, just because your yard or trees have been infested with mistletoe does not mean you should try to do anything productive with it!

There is no shortage of mistletoe, and as a result, the best thing to do when mistletoe infects your tree is to contact a tree care specialist. Very few are able to effectively eliminate or stop the growth of mistletoe, but the tree service experts at Brents can. The hope is that tree removal does not need to take place, as no one wants to lose their tree, and Brents promises to do the very best to take care of the plants in your yard.

From ball moss removal to mistletoe removal and more, the tree service experts at Brents are who you’ll want to work with. Call us at 512-236-5647 for all of your tree care needs in the Austin and Round Rock area today!