I’ve always been interested in why some trees have white paint on their branches.
I couldn’t help but wonder if these trees meant something important every time I went by them.
I recently discovered that those who plant trees use this clever trick to convey a very strong message about the trees.
We learned that the paint color is a code that tells us important things about the tree’s future and health.
You may have noticed that trees with orange dots on them are often going to be cut down.
For the same reason, purple markings on a tree usually mean “no trespassing” or that it is on private land.
But the white paint is used for something completely different. It is put on trees in the winter to help keep them from getting sunburned.
During the winter, temperatures change a lot for trees.
Image source: Erwin/Flickr
The sun can heat up the tree’s bark during the day, making it grow. But when it gets dark, the temperature drops very quickly, which makes the bark shrink and cool down quickly.
These sudden changes in temperature can split the bark, which can do a lot of damage to the tree’s trunk.
That’s why the white paint is useful.
The light color of the paint helps keep the tree’s trunk from getting too hot during the day by reflecting sunshine away from it.
In turn, this lowers the chance of cracks and splits caused by sudden changes in temperature.
It’s kind of like a natural sunscreen for trees that keeps the rough winter weather from hurting their bark.
I was interested in learning more about how to use white paint properly now that I knew what it was for.
Tree planters usually do this job with water-based latex paint, it turns out.
For the best effects, it’s important to dilute the paint the right way.
As a general rule, mix one gallon of paint with one gallon of water. This mix keeps the paint from being too thick, so it’s easy to put on the tree’s bark.
A paintbrush is usually used to put on the paint.
Some tree planters choose to spray the thinned paint onto the bark instead, which can cover more ground or be more efficient.
No matter what method is used, the trunk must be covered evenly so that all of its parts are protected from the cold weather.
One of the things that interested me the most was how often the white paint should be used.
Most of the time, tree planters only paint the stems once a year.
Learning the reason why trees are painted white was an educational event.
That something as simple as paint can have such a big effect on trees’ health, especially in the winter, is very interesting.
To protect against sun damage and damage from sudden changes in temperature, the white paint acts like a shield.
When you see a tree with a fresh coat of white paint, you’ll know that someone cares about keeping our green friends healthy and growing!
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