Florida Mistletoe Attracts Kissers and Critics

Florida mistletoe is most commonly found on laurel oak trees. So if you want to experience the Christmas tradition of kissing under the mistletoe, just look up. This Florida evergreen grows on deciduous trees, so when the leaves fall, you can clearly see it on the bare branches. Grab a cup of cheer and your significant other, and you’ll be all set for a smooch.

In reality, though, mistletoe isn’t very romantic. Not at all. It’s a parasite plant and sucks nutrients out of the host tree. That’s generally not a problem for healthy laurel oaks. But if you have a mistletoe infestation, the tree could eventually weaken and die. Your best bet is to prune the infected branches, not just the mistletoe. Be sure to wear head and eye protection.

Florida mistletoe infestation

The other downside is that clumps of mistletoe growing on a bare tree are just plain ugly. Of course, there’s an argument to be made for everything, with birds strongly disagreeing on this point. All they see is a beak-watering menu of delicious white berries with sticky seeds inside (which can cause seizures and death to pets and children).

Florida mistletoe berries attract birds

All said and done, we believe that Florida mistletoe and laurel oaks can peacefully coexist as long as their “relationship” is managed. And besides, think of all the magical lore and customs associated with mistletoe. Stories about Frigga, the goddess of love. Why they were called “kissing balls” in the 1700s. And how ancient Celts used them in their winter solstice celebrations.

Florida mistletoe decoration

Yes, many have a love/hate relationship with mistletoe. But how does that song go? Oh, yes: “Oh, ho, the mistletoe, hung where you can see. Somebody waits for you; kiss her once for me.”

Have a holly jolly Christmas, everyone!

Contact ArtisTree Landscape

Wish for a luxurious new landscape that’s both beautiful and practical? If you live in Sarasota, Manatee or Charlotte counties, contact ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design and ask for Jenni Lassen at 941.488.8897. She’ll schedule an appointment for you to meet with one of our award-winning designers. ArtisTree also provides landscape maintenance proposals for local HOA communities. Contact Michael Casper for information at 941.488.8897.

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