Home Remedy to Kill Mistletoe in Trees

Learn practical and eco-friendly home remedies to effectively remove mistletoe and protect the health of your trees.

Fall is a great Time to hike and enjoy the fall color.  This weekend my wife and I hiked in the Galena woods area. Prior to the hike I told myself “look for mistletoe “. I didn’t have to look very far to discover it EVERYWHERE!

It is extremely easy to spot this time of year as it takes on a yellow tint making it easy to spot in the green of the tree.

Unfortunately it not so easy to get rid of. Mistletoe ( Phoradendron spp. ) and the dwarf version of Mistletoe ( Arceuthobium spp.) are parasitic plants spread by birds eating then re depositing  seeds. The seeds germinate and grow through the tree bark to reach the host trees water conducting tissue

If you find mistletoe on your trees it’s best to

Remove the affected limb 12” beneath the area you find the mistletoe. Cutting back the mistletoe toe periodically will keep it from spreading or going to seed , however it’s presence is still there under the bark.

Another option may be to cut the mistletoe off then wrap the area where the mistletoe was with a sun blocking material for several years ( This MAY kill the mistletoe ) . Chemical methods are available to keep the mistletoe toe from spreading its seed however it does not kill the mistletoe and often need several applications per year.

If the mistletoe toe is bad enough removing the entire tree may be the best option.

A bad infestation will kill the tree within 10-15 years.

In the Reno / Tahoe area you will often find it on Jeffery and Ponderosa Pine.

The good news  for your yard is : Recognizing mistletoe and keeping on top of it so it does not spread will  stop it from infesting other trees, and keep it from overtaking it’s host tree. Think of the mistletoe toe as it grows as a mini shrub growing on your tree stealing it’s water and nutrients… the host tree will thank you with many years of life for keeping it trimmed off! And the surrounding trees will remain mistletoe free.

– G. Berg

Looking to clean up and remove yard waste? Check out our Maintenance page for more info HERE.

Pines shed their needles the same as a leaf!

Just like deciduous trees lose their leaves, pines regularly shed their needles to make way for new growth.

Interior needles turn brown and fall off creating a natural mulch for the tree..

If your needles are turning brown from the tips that indicates a potential problem with the tree.

As we move into fall and irrigation systems are turned off for the winter,  it’s important to water not only your evergreens but all of your plants.

– G. Berg

Looking to clean up and remove yard waste to assist in fire safety? Check out our Maintenance page for more info HERE.

How to Winterize and Restart an Irrigation System

This post is based on our original pdf about winterizing irrigation systems.

Winter Shutdown Procedure

  1. Close the main supply/shutoff valve (marked in blue.)

    looking down the stand pipe at the irrigation main valve

  2. Open all 1/4″ ball valves on the backflow preventer.

    backflow preventer with the correct "open " or "on" postition

  3. Turn ball valves on the backflow preventer to a 45 degree (or less) angle.

    backflow preventer at 45 degress

  4. Open all drains in the main line and in the valves boxes (marked in green).

    drain covers

  5. Open all bleed screws on the valves or turn all solenoids to the “ON” position.

    Bleed screws on valves

  6. Turn clock to the “off” position.

    Clock in off position

  7. Cover the backflow preventer with a backflow blanket.

  8. Check the hose bib to be sure you did not turn off the house water supply!
  9. Your house main is marked in red.

When should I water my landscape in the winter?

You should consider watering your landscape if:

  • The temps have been mild with no significant rain or snow in the forecast.
  • You have not received rain or at least 4″ of snow in the last two weeks.

For shrubs and trees:

Wait for days with average temperatures of 40ºF. Water deeply all around the root balls. Planted trees will take at least three gallons, while shrubs only need one gallon.

For lawns:

Do not water frozen soil. You can water your lawn by turning on your irrigation system, letting it cycle, turning it back off, leaving enough time for it to drain before the temps drop below freezing. Alternatively, you can hook up your hose and hand water your lawn. Remember to disconnect your hose, drain it, and store it in the shed or garage.


Fertilizing or feeding your landscape plants should wait until March or early April. Consult with your local nursery for the best nutrient mix.