Painting Your Fruit Trees

SprigOfTheLivingDead

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So I have two apple trees (Lewis Incomparable & Annie Elizabeth) being delivered in the spring and in my eager anticipation am poking around to try and gain some different ideas on your fruit tree care as these will really be my first experience caring for a fruit tree. The initial planting isn't an issue, and general "keep away from my tree you darn rabbits!" isn't a worry as caging the tree is pretty easy, but in a Univ. New Hampshire Extension video (here - ~4:10 mark) they mention Southwest Injury (aka Southwest Winter Injury) and helping to prevent it by using a water & latex paint mixture to coat the bottom two feet of young fruit trees. I had never heard of this issue & protection method before.

And in this Utah State University write-up they mention just wrapping/insulating the lower trunk during winter. They bring up the painting method as well, but the way they bring it up seems to say they prefer the insulating method.
Some orchardists paint the southwest sides or the entire lower trunks of fruit trees with white latex paint to avoid sunscald injury, again reflecting light to keep tissue cool. For this method, use interior latex paint as some exterior paints contain antimicrobial agents that can be damaging to the tree. Paint can also be diluted 1:1 with water. However, painted trunks may not be esthetically acceptable in the landscape.
Anyone use either of these methods personally? Really looking forward to planting these two guys/girls and seeing some fruit in a few years :)
 

majorcatfish

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think the paint is more for the summertime blistering heat, biggest thing is not to mulch them where rodents can nest in the winter and ring them. voles are the biggest killer of fruit trees.....
 

valley ranch

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I understand the rabbit problem,we have them at the lower corrals, easer to cope with than deer. Chicken wire about two feet up staked out a few inches from the trunk will work well.
Foam plumbing insulation will work well I think, for the cold, just open it up an put it on. Your place must be pretty cold, if you need to protect young apple trees from winter.

We have also a chipmunk or squirrel down on the lower property , for young trees, I basket the whole tree with chicken wire to protect from the little rats.
 

journey11

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I've wrapped my fig tree to insulate it for winter. I used crumpled brown paper/newspaper, twine and then tar paper on the outside of that. It is to keep the wind chill from damaging the tender branches. I'd imagine with your fruit trees you'd only need to do it the first couple of years until they mature some.
 

thistlebloom

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There isn't any real consensus on this that I have ever run across. Some say wrapping and insulating doesn't make a difference, some say it does.

If you do wrap make sure you remove it in the spring. Some insects are happy to use the wrap as protection too.

I have sometimes wrapped and sometimes not, my maples split anyway the year I wrapped them, but they were young and it got down below zero that winter, so who knows.

Valley talked about this and I agree, a good thing to do no matter what is to make cages around them with hardware cloth, and push the wire down below the soil to protect from vole damage. Mice will chew trunks too in the winter, burrowing below the snow.
 

Beekissed

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When I was growing up many older folks painted their trees so far up the trunk...usually a lime whitewash mixture. I always thought, by then, it was more of a decorative thing but probably stemmed from a more practical purpose such as preventing damage of some kind, be it bug, weather, or deer.

Would burlap be a good choice? It breathes, doesn't trap moisture and also provides some protection from the weather.
 

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