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Does Mistletoe Have Any Place In Permaculture?  RSS feed

 
Dean Howard
Posts: 123
Location: NE ARIZONA, Zone 5B, 7K feet, 24" rain
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...or is it just a bad apple all the way around? I'm sure God made it for a reason... Anybody?
 
John Saltveit
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Mistletoe is very prominent in European anti-cancer treatments. It has proven to be quite effective, but this is one where you really need to be absolutely careful. IMO , DIY doesn't work here unless you are a qualified lab scientist or health professional because the level proves the poison in mistletoe. The problem is that American doctors don't want to use it because it doesn't have the guaranteed patented economic profits of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, although it is probably much cheaper and much more effective. I think it's the European version that is used.
JohnS
PDX OR
 
Tracy Kuykendall
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I've heard of poisoning dangers of mistletoe, but I also know that deer in my area eat it with much enthusiasm, it's an important food source for wildlife in this region. I'm not smart enough to know how to incorporate it into your permaculture plan, but that's what I know about mistletoe.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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In the worst case scenario, the biodiversity of a forest with mistletoe growing in it is greater (by at least one species) than a forest without.

In the real world, mistletoe produces pollen, nectar, and seeds which feed birds, animals, and microbes, perhaps at different times of the year than the host plant. That leads to a vast improvement in biodiversity because with mistetoe in a forest it's easier for many more species to find food and avoid starving. The wood eating fungi don't care if a dead-fall was a parasite. Biomass is biomass regardless of the mechanism by which it was created.

The snags produced by mistletoe are very useful for shelter and nesting by insects, birds, and mammals. Again leading to increased biodiversity.

Birds attracted to mistletoe berries or nesting sites leave manure behind, thus increasing the fertility around the host tree.
 
Dale Hodgins
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It is a very important indicator of overall ecosystem health. Birds nest in it and they eat the berries.

One of my customers has hundreds of clumps in a large, messy grove of plums. I asked her if they pick them all. They don't, so it was decided to do nothing. She prefers to have the wildlife.
 
Dean Howard
Posts: 123
Location: NE ARIZONA, Zone 5B, 7K feet, 24" rain
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WOW, thanks everyone... I really had no idea. Here in NE Arizona, it tends to be found in nearly every juniper tree. I'm dropping and chopping lots of branches and wondered if I should be keeping the mistletoe or getting rid of it. Great news on the cancer front, too.
 
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