Have you ever seen a tree trunk painted white? How about lavender? Maybe you thought the people who owned these trees were just crazy? Maybe they wanted to paint their trees to match their house or to make their yard look pretty? Well actually there is a logical reason behind it.
If trees are exposed to too much direct sunlight they can, in their own way, get a ”sunburn.” This is called sun scalding. Sun scalding kills tissues in the tree and can cause the bark of the tree to change color or crack and fall off. If the damage gets too severe the tree may die. Damage to the tree also occurs when the tree is exposed to extremely cold temperatures at night and then really warm temperatures during the day causing the tree bark to split and crack.
This is where the paint comes in. The paint keeps the tree trunk warm at night and cool during the day. Light colored paint reflects the sunlight and heat off of the tree. Even though white is most commonly seen, any light colored paint can be used as long as it is latex paint. Oil based paint will seep into the bark and poison the tree. If you don’t want to paint your trees, another option is to get tree trunk wrap from a gardening store or you can just use burlap to wrap around the trunk of the tree to prevent any direct sunlight.
Painting of tree trunks is most commonly found on citrus trees because their bark is much thinner than other trees and need more protection. However, once the canopy of the tree has grown large enough and thick enough that it shades the trunk of the tree, the paint is no longer necessary. If your trees aren’t big enough to shade themselves yet, or if you have recently removed a neighboring tree that provided a lot of shade to your smaller trees, then you should really consider running to the store and picking up some paint.
When caring for your trees, whether it is painting their trunks or pruning them, it is always best to start early. If trees are introduced to these things when they are first planted, they will not only last longer, but also live to be bigger and stronger than your other trees. Don’t wait until it is too late to start caring for your plants and trees. If you have any questions about this process feel free to call a tree care provider near you.
Janae writes for Premiere Tree Services’ Tree Lovers Blog. She really enjoys writing what she learns about tree care, environmental issues, and the tree service industry.