Lacey advises taking the mistletoe out of its packaging as soon as it comes and immediately hanging the plant. If you don't want to hang it right away, keep the mistletoe cold in the meanwhile. The plant's leaves and berries will eventually fall off, but they should survive the entire season. Mistletoe is an invasive species that can grow rapidly if not controlled, so be sure to cut it back by half when it reaches the ground in spring.
Mistletoe has a number of interesting properties. It produces clusters of white flowers followed by red berries. The plant has small, arrow-shaped green leaves and grows up to 4 feet tall. Mistletoe is found around the world on trees growing in temperate climates, especially near water. There are two varieties of mistletoe: blackwood and vine.
Blackwood mistletoe is native to North America where it grows in open forests. It can be found from Newfoundland to Georgia and west as far as Oklahoma. This variety of mistletoe usually grows on white pine, black oak, or sugar maple.
Vine mistletoe is found in Europe and grows on oaks and beech trees. It can reach a height of 30 feet or more and produce berries each year regardless of the size of the tree it grows on. Although rare, mistletoe can also be found in other parts of the world including Asia and Australia.
So, place the cut end of the stem in a jar of cool water and store it in a cool spot (typically outside) until you're ready to use it. Of course, after you hang it, it will start to try out, but it is part of the tradition! If you don't want to risk damaging the plant by cutting it down, then consider getting a small Christmas tree instead.
Even if you don't wrap the mistletoe, simply taking it out of an afflicted tree each winter is preferable to doing nothing. Even though the parasite will regenerate, its spread is limited since broadleaf mistletoe must be several years old before blooming and producing seed. The young plants that do grow will not be infected with the mistletoe virus.
If you want to kill the tree completely, there are two methods available: cut it down or poison it. Mistletoe grows best in well-lit areas with deep soil for roots. If you cut it down, make sure to take off any remaining vine because it will continue to grow even after its host tree has died. Poisoning the tree involves spraying some type of pesticide into the trunk of the plant. This will kill the tree but not the mistletoe; therefore, removing it after poisoning is essential for preventing contamination of other trees.
Some people say you can cure sick trees by burning them. This method is not recommended because smoke carries toxic chemicals into the air that could be harmful if breathed in too much.
You should also know that mistletoe is popular as home decoration because of its beautiful red berries. If you want to keep this beauty for yourself or others, you should pick only healthy branches without any signs of disease or infestation.