I moved to Vail eleven years ago. For the past seven years landscaping, this beautiful area has been my profession. Tree trimming relaxes me throughout my work week. Mistletoe is spreading rapidly in Vail and has many residents concerned.
To watch a tree like the one in this picture slowly die saddens me. About a year ago I noticed a small clump of mistletoe high in this mesquite. Driving past it twice a day I see it spread. Without treatment, this tree could be dead in less than a year. Desert mistletoe is hemiparasitic, It does its own photosynthesis and takes water and minerals from its host. Some say that as a parasite the plant is reluctant to kill its own host. I see evidence that it does kill every day.
Palo Verde and Catclaw suffer from “mesquite mistletoe ” as well. Driving down Marsh station road. Or Wentworth towards Corona de Tucson the trees are covered with sadness. Garigans Gulch, Pistol Hill Road, and Sahuarita Road are badly affected.
Often the infestations make a “swollen round” area on the branch. This part needs to be removed. If there isn’t a swollen part I usually remove the whole branch. This doesn’t always cure the problem, but is the best way I know to control it.
Sometimes it’s hard for a homeowner to let me cut off major branches. People say things like “it will make the tree look funny”. In my opinion, a funny looking tree is better than a dead looking one.
The thought of our area without trees is not a happy one. It takes many years for them to grow. It doesn’t take long for mistletoe to kill them. Please take care of any infestations on your property as soon as possible. Thank you