Whitewashing Trees In The Fall: When, How And What To Whitewash

Everybody has probably seen the trunks of fruit trees whitewashed in early spring or fall. However, few people know why they do it? Some people think that whitewashing is necessary to increase the ornamental value of the plant, while others think it is necessary to protect the tree from disease. Who is right?

Why whitewash trees

Whitewashing trees in the fall: when, how and what to whitewash

The bark is a kind of protective covering for trees. It is the one that suffers the most from various environmental changes, e.g.

scorching sun, frost, sudden temperature change, cold and strong wind, rodents and other pests etc. Under the influence of unfavorable external factors over time, the bark becomes very rough, cracked and can begin to peel. To make it clearer to you, just compare the rough, cracked surface of an old plant and the smooth, thin skin of a young tree.

Since the bark of trees takes the hit first, it is necessary to keep an eye on its condition. But regularly whitewashing the bark of trees protects them from:

  • sun burns in winter and spring, as during this period the plant has no leaves and its stems and trunk are sheltered from the scorching rays;
  • sharp temperature changes that cause cracks;
  • frost bites;
  • pests that settle in the tree bark.

This is why every experienced gardener knows that whitewashing trunks should be approached with great responsibility. Remember that not only fruit trees need to be whitened, but also ornamental trees.

When to whiten trees


Whitewashing trees in the fall: when, how and what to whitewash

Experienced gardeners state that you should whiten trees 2-3 times a year: In the early spring, in the summer and in the autumn. At the same time, the main whitewashing is carried out in autumn. The best time for this procedure is October or November, shortly before the first frosts.

Autumn whitewashing helps to keep plants from harmful insects and pathogenic fungi that have gathered to overwinter in the bark. In addition, whitewashed trunks will be protected from ice formation and hungry rodents will bypass them.


Whitewashing trees in the fall: when, how and what to whitewash

If trees have wintered unwhitewashed, then whitewashing should be done in late winter or early spring. This is best done in February. The reason is that unbleached trunks can be heated by the blazing sun up to 11 degrees during the day at the end of winter.

And this can lead to the beginning of the sap movement. In February, however, nighttime temperatures can still drop to minus 10 degrees, so the sap can freeze. As a result, it is not uncommon to see plant tissues ruptured and frost boles forming, which are deep and large cracks in the bark. If there is a coating of white on the surface of the trunk and the base of the skeletal branches, it will reflect the sun's rays. Thanks to this, there will be no heating of the bark, and as a result, sap movement will not start early and frost boles will not appear.

If trees were whitewashed in autumn, it is recommended to refresh the whitewashing in spring. In that case, it is done in February-March or in the first days of April.

Will trees need summer whitewashing? If the whitewash from the trees has been washed away by heavy rains, experts recommend that it be refreshed in the summertime. But if the trunks are covered with a stable composition, which is very difficult to wash off, then there is no need to whitewash them in the summer. Remember to whiten trees at any time of the year on a nice day when it is not raining or snowing.

What to whiten trees in autumn

Tree whitening preparations

Whitewashing trees in the fall: when, how and what to whitewash

Tree whitening is mostly done with water-dispersion or water-based paints and lime solution. The lime solution used for whitewashing must necessarily contain the following ingredients:

  • lime or chalk, as the color of the solution must be white in order to dispel the burning rays of the sun;
  • clay or glue is added to the solution to make it stick better to the tree surface;
  • a fungicide is used as disinfectant, the most popular being copper sulfate.

Lime solutions are rather popular among gardeners. Despite the fact that this remedy has been used for whitewashing trees for a long time, has a simple formulation and a relatively low price, it has one significant disadvantage - it washes off very quickly. To prepare the lime mortar you need to mix half a bucket of water with 1.

25-1.5 kg of quicklime or chalk, 0.25 kg of copper sulfate and 50 g of casein glue (can be replaced by several tablespoons of flour paste). Thoroughly stir the composition until all components are dissolved and mixed together. Then leave the solution alone for a while to allow it to infuse.

Unique whitewash for trees. Heal, protect and fortify your garden.

This is not the only recipe for lime solution, there are several others:

  1. In eight liters of water dissolve one kilogram each of lime and manure and add 0.2 kg of copper sulfate. Mix everything well and leave the mixture to infuse for 2-3 hours.

  2. In the beginning 0.4 kg of copper sulfate is mixed with hot water, which needs very little. After that the solution is mixed with a couple of kilograms of quicklime and with 1 bucket of water. From 60 to 100 grams of casein glue are added to the mixture. Such a mixture has a relatively high stability.

  3. In one bucket of water dissolve a couple of kilograms of quicklime, one kilogram of greasy clay, 0.25 kg of copper vitriol and one shovel of cow dung. The mixture should infuse for 2-3 h.

Garden water emulsion paint is not harmful to trees and is durable. It covers the wood surface with a layer that cannot be washed off by water, is resistant to direct sunlight and is air and moisture permeable.

Water-dispersion garden paint includes not only pigment, but also latex, antiseptic and different modifying additives in its composition. Such a coating is good air permeable, but at the same time it protects the bark from harmful UV radiation, which can cause significant harm to the plant in winter and early spring. In addition, it creates a long-lasting coating that lasts about two years on the trees. Coating trunks with such composition may be performed only if it is not colder than 3 degrees Celsius outside.

Fruit trees can be whitewashed with a mixture prepared by your own hands, and you can use boustylate or other glue containing latex as a base.

To prepare the mortar, combine chalk or kaolin with a binder (PVA glue or boustylate) in a 1:2 ratio. Mix well, and then pour water into the mixture a little at a time. The resulting mixture should have the consistency of oil paint.

Tools needed for whitewashing

Whitewashing trees in the fall: when, how and what to whitewash

Not so long ago, sponge brushes were widely used for whitewashing tree trunks. But nowadays flat paint brushes made of synthetic bristles, mackerel or flat brushes are becoming more and more popular among gardeners.

They equally qualitatively and quickly cover both smooth and rough surfaces with a mortar. Therefore, such brushes are very convenient to use and allow you to finish the work faster.

There are gardeners who are more comfortable using paint rollers. But if you have a lot of trees in your garden and they are quite large, it is much more convenient and quicker to whiten them with a paint gun.

How to whiten trees in autumn

Preparing trees for whitewashing

Whitewashing trees in the fall: when, how and what to whitewash

If trees were only whitened for beauty then you could simply cover the trunks with lime mortar or special paint to a height of 100-120 cm.

But the benefit of such whitewashing will be negligible.

Remember that you should cover not only the whole trunk with paint or lime but also the lower part of the skeletal branches (to 1/3 of their length). Mature trees are usually covered with garden paint or lime mortar to a height of 180 to 200 cm. Before you start whitewashing, however, you should prepare the trunks. Choose a damp day and clean the trunk and underneath the scaffold branches from moss, lichen and old bark which has peeled off.

Clean the trunk only with your hands, which should be protected with thick gardening gloves. Do not use sponges, scrapers, plastic or metal brushes, as you can easily injure the healthy bark. All cracks and crevices in the bark should be cleaned well with a sharpened spike or a wooden knife.

Everything you remove from the tree trunk during cleaning should be destroyed. After that, you should disinfect the peeled bark.

To do this, choose a windless weather day, as rain will simply render all the work you have done useless. Trees are disinfected with a solution of copper sulfate (3-5%), for its preparation you need to add 0.3 to 0.5 kg of the substance to 10 liters of water. If desired, copper sulfate can be replaced by means such as Oxyhom, Bordeaux mixture, HOM or Abiga-peak.

Trees are treated with a disinfecting composition with a fine sprayer at close range. Pay attention to the fact that during treatment, the solution should not run down the bark, and should as if envelop it in a thick mist and settle on its surface in small droplets. Such a treatment is not recommended to be carried out annually, as it will lead to the accumulation of copper in the bark, and due to the high concentration of this substance, the tree itself can suffer greatly: it becomes less resistant to various pests and diseases. In this regard, experienced gardeners recommend using alternately fungicidal preparations and ash and soap solution, which has a pronounced disinfecting effect, and also it is absolutely harmless to plants, and on the contrary, even useful. To prepare the ash and soap solution, dissolve 25 grams of grinded laundry soap and 1-1.

5 kg of wood ash in 5 liters of hot water (not boiling water!).

You can also take ash liquor to disinfect the trunk if you wish. Sift 1-1.5 kg of wood ash and combine it with 5 liters of water. Stir the composition for 15-20 minutes, after which it is sent to the fire and wait until it boils.

Wait for the mixture to cool and infuse, then gently drain and strain it. Dilute the ash liquor with water in a 1:1 ratio. The product can be used both to spray the trunk and to wash it.

When the bark disinfection is complete, seal the wounds on the plant. Gardeners use 3 different formulations for this purpose:

  1. Clay Bolthouse.

    It is prepared simply from water and clay, but some gardeners also add copper sulfate and manure to the mixture. For example, combine 100 grams of cowpea with 200 grams of clay, also add some chopped straw, and then pour in so much water that it has the consistency of thick sour cream.

  2. Garden brew . You can buy it in specialized stores or make it yourself by melting 100 grams of rosin and separately 200 grams of beeswax on a small fire. Combine these components and add to them 100 grams of fat, which should be unsalted.

    After the fat is completely melted, pour the composition into cold water. Then take the mixture out of the water and roll it into a lump. Before using the garden variety for its intended purpose, heat it a little to make it more elastic.Gardening Paste Rannet, which contains copper sulfate and humate. Use it on a warm day because it is not water resistant.

General rules for tree whitewashing in the fall

Whitewashing trees in the fall: when, how and what to whitewash

When the leaves are done, prepare the trees for whitewashing. Only then can you start whitewashing your trees. Some gardeners are convinced that young trees should not be whitewashed because the lime solution can burn their thin bark. But experts say that in the autumn, seedlings and trees, which are 1-2 years old, can be safely whitewashed with water-dispersed or water-based paint, which is absolutely harmless to them. You can also use a lime solution for this purpose, but only in a lower concentration.

If you leave the young trees unbleached, then the scorching rays of the sun in winter and spring will cause them much greater harm than the lime mortar. The fact is that seedlings grow in nurseries in cramped conditions and, therefore, direct sun rays are unaccustomed to them.

Do not apply a thick layer on the surface of the trunk and the lower part of the scaffold branches, otherwise after complete drying the whitewash may start to flake off and then the plant will have to be whitewashed again. The optimal thickness of whitewash is about 0.2-0.

3 cm. The solution used should have a homogeneous consistency without lumps and a white color.

If you whitewash the fruit trees in your garden twice a year, they will become more resistant to diseases, give a larger yield, and the quality of the fruit will be noticeably better. The life expectancy of the trees will also increase markedly.


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