How and Why to Paint Fruit Tree Trunks

With all of the leaves now fallen away from our fruit trees we needed to paint the tree trunks white. We did this for those that were already planted and those that were still in pots waiting to be planted.

Painted Tree Trunks
Painted Tree Trunks

Painting the lower two feet of the trunk or up to the first row of lateral limbs with white latex paint is common in orchards. This method can be used on fruit trees as well as nut trees.

The white deflects light and heat away from the tree trunk to prevent sun scorch when the trees are bare and do not have their foliage to protect them. It will keep the tree trunk from splitting and cracking due to the sun scorch. The paint is also a deterrent for boring beetles.

It is best to paint the trees on a warm dry day so that the paint can quickly dry. Be sure to completely cover the entire area. If there are any cracks that are missed from the regular brush strokes use the tip of the brush to dab the paint so that they are completely covered.

About a week later thoroughly inspect all of the painted trees for any missed areas and areas that are not completely covered and apply a second coat if necessary. Visible holes appearing through the fresh coat of paint may be signs of an infestation.

Lastly, it is important to reapply a good coat of paint each year. This helps repair any flaking or washing away of old paint as well as covers any new growth of the trunk.