BACKGROUND: Mistletoe in Britain grows mainly in the SW Midlands of England. Within that area most of the seasonal mistletoe harvest comes from traditional apple orchards - apple being mistletoe's favourite host tree.
Outside this area (and also within it) mistletoe's other primary habitat is in gardens where it is usually planted on fruit, particularly apple, trees. It also grows on many other garden shrubs and trees. In gardens it is often highly-valued, especially when it is outside the main mistletoe-growing region. Concerns over mistletoe rarity (though these are sometimes based on misunderstanding of its natural distribution) contribute to this appreciation and pleasure of having garden-grown mistletoe.
Mistletoe, being only semi-parasitic, is not usually a problem in modest amounts. But there have been suggestions that over-cautious pruning (possibly linked to worries about rarity etc) might mean that some garden mistletoe is being allowed to grow unchecked on its host. This can lead eventually, though only after several decades, to the mistletoe taking over too much of the tree and causing premature death of both tree and mistletoe. But is this really a problem? Is garden mistletoe being left unmanaged, is it well-managed, or does it simply never become a problem in a garden situation?
This 'Garden Trees with Mistletoe' survey project aims to gather data on mistletoe management in gardens. It is a sister project to the similar Orchard Trees with Mistletoe survey project. For details of this, and a third survey project endeavouring to find which fruit, particularly apple, varieties are most susceptible/resistant to mistletoe please visit www.surveys.mistletoe.org.uk
Results of the survey will be available via the link above in due course. The survey will be open for several years, so rapid results are not expected. This updated version of the survey form (originally part of the 'Mistletoe League' suite of surveys) was released in October 2015.