Common Parasitic Plants on Trees
blogdetail.jpg 05 Apr

Common Parasitic Plants on Trees

When people think of parasites, they often refer to insects. However, parasitic organisms include plants, as some get nutrients from other plants, usually at the expense of their host’s health. When you notice parasitic plants infesting your trees, Southern Star Stump can help you prevent severe damage and provide emergency tree and stump removal services. While parasitic plants may not raise concerns initially, they can cause significant harm, weakening growth, structural instability, and even death. Common parasitic plants target trees, and why removing them can preserve tree health and vitality.


Mistletoe is one of the most notorious parasitic plants found in trees. This stealthy invader attaches to branches and draws nutrients and water from the host tree. Although mistletoe may initially seem harmless, it can weaken the host with time. In addition, heavy mistletoe infestation can cause stunted growth, branch dieback, and increased susceptibility to other pests and diseases. Removing mistletoe from trees is essential to prevent further damage, but in case of severe damage, we can recommend tree and stump removal to protect other healthy trees.


Dodder is a parasitic vine that wraps itself around the stems and branches of trees, forming dense clusters of orange or yellow thread-like structures. This aggressive parasite penetrates the host’s vascular system, stealing water, nutrients, and hormones vital for growth and development. As this menace spreads throughout a tree, it ultimately weakens its structure and death. When this happens, hiring a professional for tree removal or stump grinding is advisable. 

Witch’s Broom 

Unlike other parasitic plants from a single species, witch’s broom is a symptom of infection caused by various fungi, viruses, or phytoplasmas. It manifests as clusters of abnormal growth, resembling broom-like structures, on tree branches. A witch’s broom can severely affect the host’s growth and vigor, causing deformities and reduced productivity. Also, it is a reservoir of pathogens, increasing the tree’s susceptibility to diseases. Pruning affected branches and implementing proper sanitation measures are necessary to prevent its spread and protect the tree’s health.


While ivy may not be considered a traditional parasitic plant, it can still harm trees when left unchecked. This choking creeper climbs tree trunks using aerial rootlets, covering the bark and inhibiting photosynthesis. In addition, the weight of dense ivy growth can strain tree branches and increase the risk of structural failure, especially during storms. Removing ivy from trees is essential to prevent further damage, improve tree aesthetics, and reduce the risk of tree death.

Parasitic plants pose a significant threat to the health and stability of trees in natural and urban environments. Whether you are dealing with mistletoe or dodder, these invaders can weaken trees, compromise their structural integrity, and increase susceptibility to other stressors. If you suspect parasitic plants in your yard, contact the Southern Star Stump for professional help. We leverage extensive expertise and knowledge to provide effective proactive measures like fertilization, pruning, or stump grinding to ensure healthy trees for years.