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Local Oak Gets Ambush Makeover

COARSEGOLD – Have you noticed something calling to you mysteriously, something that just won’t quit? Susanne Waite of Coarsegold had that feeling for years, everytime she cruised past one very old, seemingly abandoned oak tree on Trabuco Road. This particular once-glorious oak was being steadily overtaken by a parasitic enemy in the form of mistletoe. So Waite set out to rectify the situation.

“I tried to cut out the mistletoe from a ‘neighborhood’ tree on Trabuco Road that was laden with it and it was killing it,” explains Waite.

“For years I’ve driven by thinking, ‘I’m going to get that mistletoe down someday,’ and this was the year. It’s at the sharp turn where the mailboxes are set next to it.”

Waite wasn’t sure who owned the tree, so she asked the people who live at that corner if it was okay to cut the parasite out.

Mistletoe tree work in progress - Mike Gomez of Clean Cut Tree Service in the bucket - photo by Susanne Waite

“They gave me permission to take the mistletoe out that day and people driving by probably thought I was crazy standing in the back of our Silverado truck bed with my pole pruner. I wish I could have done it all but couldn’t get higher than 30 feet. There was no way I could get up the 40-50 feet to get the rest.”

Anyone who knows Susanne Waite, especially husband Terry, knows she’s determined.

“My set up was severely lacking, but not my intent,” she continues. “I wasn’t going to leave it unfinished, that poor tree called me for 12 years!”

Professional help was needed and Waite knew it couldn’t wait.

“I’m shocked people don’t realize mistletoe is actually a parasite sucking moisture and nutrients from the oaks, and it can kill them, especially in this drought. How it spreads is that birds eat the berries, then fly to another tree, leave their droppings including the mistletoe seeds. Our Sierra trees are full of it. And it’s poisonous to horses and other animals!”

Mistletoe tree work in progress - Mike Gomez of Clean Cut Tree Service in the bucket - photo by Susanne WaiteOnce the trees leaf out in spring, it’s harder for laymen and pros to get the mistletoe out.

“I asked Mike Gomez of Clean Cut Tree Service to donate their services since I was hiring them to get the mistletoe out of my trees and they’d already have their equipment in the area.”

Fortunately, Mike agreed. Once the Oaks leaf out its diffucult to do mistletoe removal whether on your own or by professionals.

“I may not have been able to get the mistletoe out up higher, but Clean Cut Tree Service could,” applauds Waite.

Mistletoe tree after clean up by Susanne Waite and Clean Cut Tree Service - photo by Susanne Waite“I want to give them a shout out for caring for this poor orphaned tree. Really nice guys, including Mike, Cody Wright, Steve McQueen and Ernie Gomez. They did a fantastic job, and now the suffering tree is a happy tree.”

Now, when Waite drives by, it puts a smile on her face knowing that tree will be there for years to come.

“It was just a tree that stands alone in a triangle, but it’s prominent as you drive down the hill towards Trabuco Mountain. It stands proud now.”

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Sierra News Online

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