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With Christmas once more visible on the horizon, my thoughts are turning yet again to mistletoe. Does anyone have a failsafe way of introducing it and are apple trees the good hosts they are purported to be?
Over the years I have rubbed it in crevices, nicked bark and squished it in, and simply hung bundles of it in the orchard and hoped the birds would succeed where I failed but all to no avail.
Any advice please?
Mistress Rose

The first thing is that it is very slow growing. I believe apple trees are a good host, but you have to use fresh seed. The normal way is to just rub the seed into the bark on the underside of a branch, ideally about 8" dia., but it has to be the right conditions, and it will take years to reach the size to even gather one sprig.

It will grow on other trees, but not in a wood apparently and is most commonly also found on hawthorn, lime and poplar, although it is sometimes seen on a few other trees.

Apple trees, certainly. It's a major crop here in our orchards. I've got tons of the stuff. Proper pain.

Do you know what the right conditions are Mistress Rose? I don't mind waiting.
And Nick, was your probagation done by nature or did you do it yourself and it's done better than expacted?

No, it predates us. I think the seeds arrive in bird shit.
Jam Lady

I may be wrong Nick (it has been known to happen) but I think mistletoe is bird propagated when they wipe the sticky seed goop off their beaks, a process called feaking.

You're probably right. But, certainly, nature put it there, not me. Smile
wellington womble

They used to plant it in Herefordshire apple orchards for a winter crop, do they had apples in autumn, mistletoe in winter, daffs in spring and veg in summer. Goodness knows how, though.
Mistress Rose

Jettejette, try looking on the internet. I checked up on it when you asked the question, and there are several sites that give you an idea of how to get them started. Of course they won't always work as you have found, but will give you an idea of the best places to try.

Thanks Mistress Rose, I should have done that in the first place but I always think real people's first hand experiences are good to hear and often there are little tricks and hints which the 'professionals' don't tell you about. Especially on DS - you're such a knowledgeable and experienced lot. 😉

There's lots of it around here, mainly on old apple trees but a few other trees have it too, but I think it's just because there's so much of it, that it gets spread so thickly, so often, that eventually some takes hold, whatever it's spread on.
It's not always nice and symmetrical with nice berries, in fact it's rarely symmetrical and rarely has nice berries, and it's bad for the trees. Sad
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