It's time again for my annual letter on the subject of mistletoe. Now that the trees are bare, it is easy to see that Lodi's urban forest is in crisis.
Can you visualize our city with 700 fewer mature trees? That is the minimum number by actual count of trees infested with this deadly parasite. Trees are dying everywhere.
Mistletoe is spread by the birds who eat the sticky white berries produced from October to December. The birds eat the pulp and pass the living seed, so that one infested tree can infect a whole neighborhood, as seen in many areas of the city.
The only solution, as recommended by the University of California, Davis, in a free publication called Pest Notes; Mistletoe, UC ANR Publication 7437, is to have the mistletoe cut out by a qualified tree company. The literature recommends that neighbors get together, hire the work done as a group and get a much better price than if each homeowner worked individually on the problem.
My aim for the last four years has been to make Lodians aware of this destructive parasite, and I commend those who have had their trees tended to. Obviously, there is a problem where city-owned trees on city easements are infecting adjacent trees on private property. A solution to this will have to be found.
Incidentally, this being Valentine month, why not plant a tree for that special someone?
First published: Saturday, February 10, 2007