Whitewashing trees in spring: when, why and how to whitewash fruit trees

Whitewashing trees in spring: when, why and how to whitewash fruit trees

Garden plants

Proper care of fruit trees is the key to their health, longevity, abundant and high-quality harvest. Our site has already posted an article on how to whiten trees in the fall, where we substantiated the need for this procedure.
Whitewashing garden trees in autumn is a very important item in the list of garden care measures, but whitewashing trees and shrubs in spring is equally important.

Why whitewash trees

If the autumn whitewashing is performed in order to prevent the formation of cracks and frost cracks in the bark of trees and shrubs in winter and to destroy pathogens and pests gathered in the bark, then whitewashing trees in spring is carried out to protect their boles and skeletal branches from burns, since at this time the sun is very active, and there is still no foliage on the plants that could protect the bark from overheating.

In addition, whitewashing in spring is a preventive measure against pathogens and pests, which nevertheless managed to survive the winter in cracks in the bark and in the upper layer of the soil.

That is why trees are whitewashed at least twice a year - in autumn and spring.

When to whitewash trees

When to whitewash trees in autumn

The most important is the autumn whitewashing of apple trees, cherries, plums and pears - without this procedure, fruit bearers can not only lose their decorative effect, but also die, since sudden temperature changes in the autumn-winter period can lead to severe damage to the bark. You need to whitewash fruit trees in October or November, just before the start of frost. If the process is successful, your garden will be protected from frost, ice formation on the trunks and hungry hares eating bark.

When to whitewash trees in spring

Spring whitewashing is carried out in February or early March: at this time, tree trunks can heat up to 11 ºC during the day, and this provokes too early the onset of sap flow. And night temperatures in late winter and early spring can drop to -10 ºC, and this leads to freezing of sap, tissue rupture and the formation of frost cracks. White paint on trunks and skeletal branches repels the sun's rays, protects the bark from overheating and prevents trees from waking up at the wrong time.

How to whitewash trees in spring

Preparations for whitewashing trees

Garden whitewashing can be done with three compositions: lime mortar, water-based paint or water-dispersion paint. The composition of whitewashing for trees must necessarily include three components:

  • white pigment - chalk or lime, since it is the white color that best protects the bark from the sun's rays;
  • an adhesive base that fixes the pigment on the bark, preventing the composition from flowing down the trunk;
  • fungicidal preparation that destroys infection in the cracks of the bark.

In the photo: Whitewashed apple trees

The easiest way to protect trees - lime or chalk solution, which gardeners have been using for a long time. There are several recipes in which the ingredients differ, but in any case, chalk or lime remains the basis. For example:

  • in 10 liters of water, you need to dilute about three kilograms of slaked lime or chalk, add 500 g of copper sulphate and 100 g of casein glue, which can be replaced with a few tablespoons of flour paste. The composition is thoroughly mixed until all the ingredients dissolve, then the whitewash should be infused for several hours;
  • thoroughly mix in 10 liters of water 2 kg of slaked lime, a kilogram of greasy clay, a shovel of manure and 250 g of copper sulfate and leave to brew for 2-3 hours;
  • in two liters of water, stir 300 g of fluffy lime, 2 tablespoons of copper sulfate, 200 g of stationery glue, 200 g of clay and 25 g of Karbofos;
  • 400 g of copper sulfate should be dissolved in 2 liters of hot water and mixed with 100 g of casein glue, 2 kg of slaked lime and diluted with 8 liters of water.

Whitewashing has the disadvantage that its coating is quickly washed off or crumbled. That is why, after the autumn whitewashing of trees with a lime or chalk composition, you will have to whitewash them again in the spring. If you use water-based or water-based paints, then one whitewash per year, or even two, will be enough.

The main advantage of water-based paint is its durability: it forms a durable but vapor-permeable breathable coating on the barrel surface, resistant to washing off and sunlight.

Photo: Whitewashed trees in the park

The composition of the water-dispersion paint, in addition to the pigment, includes latex and antiseptic. The paint forms a breathable coating on the tree trunk, but does not transmit ultraviolet rays, which can cause great damage to trees in the spring. The water-dispersive coating lasts up to two years on the trunks, which greatly facilitates the work of the gardener. Painting of trees with a water-dispersion composition is carried out at an air temperature of at least 3 ºC.

How to prune trees in spring - tested on personal experience

Both water-based and water-based paints are sold in garden pavilions. But you can also make your own durable paint by mixing two parts of busylate or PVA glue, one part of pigment (chalk or kaolin) and adding a fungicidal preparation to the mixture.

How to dilute whitewash? After you mix all the ingredients well, add water in small portions to the mixture, continuing to stir the composition, so that in the end the consistency is as thick as oil paint.

Whitewashing tools

Most often, washcloth brushes are used to whitewash trees, but this is not the most convenient tool. It is easier and more convenient to use a swinging paint brush made of artificial material, as well as a flute brush, or a bristle brush, which allow one movement to cover a significant area of ​​the bark surface, both smooth and fissured. If there are not many trees in your garden, then you can quickly handle with a brush or a paint roller, but if the garden is large and the trees are tall, then it is better to use a spray gun to whitewash them.

How to whitewash trees in spring

If for some reason you did not whitewash the trees for the winter, then in the spring you will need not only to cover them with the composition, but also to carry out preliminary preparation of the trunks and skeletal branches of your fruit-bearing trees before whitewashing. You need to cleanse them of the old dead bark: spread an oilcloth or cloth under the tree and use a wooden (but by no means metal!) scraper to remove loose pieces and pieces of bark. You need to process the entire stem and the lower third of the skeletal branches. It is best to do this on a damp, cloudy day. For work, put on old leather gloves, and be sure to burn the fragments of bark that have fallen on the litter.

In the photo: Whitewashing of a fruit tree

The cleaned bark should be disinfected: on a dry and clear warm day, treat the stem and the base of the skeletal branches with a 5% solution of copper sulfate or Abiga-peak, HOM or Oxyhom preparations. Spraying is carried out from a finely dispersed sprayer at a close distance, so that the moisture forms a fog that slowly settles on the bark, and does not flow through it in streams.

Please note that this manipulation should be carried out in the morning, so that by the evening the bark has time to dry out.

In addition, disinfection with copper-containing preparations is undesirable every year, since the metal tends to accumulate in the bark, and eventually its concentration will become toxic to the tree. To prevent this from happening, you need to alternate the treatment with fungicides with spraying the bark with a soap-ash solution, which is not so harmful to the tree, but at the same time perfectly cleans the bark. To prepare the solution, you need 2.5-3 kg of ash and 50 g of liquid soap or dishwashing detergent to be diluted in water at a temperature of about 80 ºC.

The wounds and cracks formed in the process of cleaning the bark must be repaired with one of the following compounds:

  • 200 g of clay is mixed with 100 g of mullein, a handful of finely chopped straw and diluted with water to the consistency of thick sour cream;
  • Dissolve 100 g of rosin and 200 g of beeswax separately, then combine, add 100 g of unsalted animal fat, and when everything melts, pour this mass into cold water, take it out and roll it into a lump. Before covering the wounds and cracks, this garden pitch is slightly warmed up so that it becomes elastic.

To seal injuries, you can use RanNet garden paste, which includes copper sulfate and humate. The procedure is carried out in dry weather, since the composition does not differ in moisture resistance.

In the photo: Whitewashed peach

When all the preliminary work has been done, you can start whitewashing. Should trees with smooth young bark be whitewashed? Some gardeners believe that the calcareous composition burns the delicate bark of annual and biennial seedlings and thereby prevents the trunk from thickening. Agreeing that lime is not very useful for young bark, we suggest using a water emulsion or water-dispersion paint instead, and the lime solution for seedlings can be made not as concentrated as for adult fruit-bearing plants. But if you completely abandon the whitewashing of young trees, then the harm from deep cracks and frost cracks can be much stronger.

The consistency of the whitewash composition should be such that it does not flow down the trunk, and the thickness of the layer applied to the trunk and branches should be 2-3 mm. If the coating is too thick, it will flake off and you will have to re-whitewash the trees.


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Whitewashing trees. What is needed, when and how to whiten trees

You've probably noticed that most of the trees in parks are whitewashed at certain times of the year. Not everyone understands the essence of this procedure, but everything is simple here.

Trees in the garden can be severely damaged by the sun, even burning. Therefore, people help them with whitewashing. This is the easiest way to avoid bark burns.

It is because of burns that cracks can appear on the tree, and through them pests or infection can penetrate into the trunk. If this happens, the tree will slowly die.

Now this is a mandatory procedure for tree care, it carries not only a preventive goal, but also an aesthetic one. Well-groomed beautiful trees are the property of the park, garden and vegetable garden.

When to whitewash trees

In autumn

Experienced gardeners say that it is necessary to whitewash trees 2-3 times a year: at the beginning of spring, as well as in summer and autumn. In this case, the main whitewashing is carried out in the fall. The best time for this procedure is October or November, shortly before the first frost. Autumn whitewashing helps to protect plants from harmful insects and pathogenic fungi that have gathered to winter in the bark. In addition, the whitewashed trunks will be protected from ice formation, and hungry rodents will bypass them.

In the spring

In the event that the trees overwintered unbleached, then whitewashing will need to be done at the end of winter or early spring. The best time to do this is in February. The fact is that at the end of winter in the daytime, unbleached trunks can be heated by the scorching rays of the sun up to 11 degrees. And this can lead to the beginning of sap flow. However, in February at night the air temperature can still drop to minus 10 degrees, so the juice can freeze. As a result, a rupture of plant tissues and the formation of frost holes are often observed, which are deep and large cracks in the bark. If there is a white coating on the surface of the trunk and the base of the skeletal branches, then it will reflect the rays of the sun. Thanks to this, the bark will not heat up, as a result of which the sap flow will not start ahead of time and frost breaks will not appear. If the trees were whitewashed in the fall, then it is recommended to refresh the whitewashing in the spring. In this case, it is held in February – March or in the first days of April.

Do trees need summer whitewashing? In the event that the whitewash from the trees was washed away by heavy rains, experts recommend that it be freshened up in the summer. But if the trunks are covered with a stable compound that is very difficult to wash off, then you do not need to whiten them in the summer. Remember that you need to whitewash trees at any time of the year on a fine day when there is no rain or snow.

Whitewashing trees in spring

After a general cleaning in the garden in early spring, gardeners begin to massively whitewash the trunks of all trees. Is this procedure mandatory? Why are tree trunks whitewashed in spring? Aesthetics or hope for a good harvest? Let's try to figure it out.

Some gardeners are sure that whitewashing trees in spring is not an agricultural practice, but only a beauty guide on the site or in the garden. And even more: whitewashing solutions penetrate the bark, poisoning the tree and clogging the pores. Opponents are sure that if you follow all the rules about what and how to whitewash trees, the garden will only benefit. Firstly, the substances that make up the whitewash for trees have a detrimental effect on the parasites that live in the bark. Secondly, the white color reflects the sun's rays better, protecting the tree from moisture loss. And thirdly, this ritual is a symbol of the arrival of spring.

What is really going on? True, as always, in the middle. If the gardener observes all the rules (when and how to whitewash garden trees in spring), then the protection of the garden from pests and the sun is guaranteed. And it's not that pests are afraid of lime or another substance. There are diseases that "cling" only to trees with damaged bark. If you treat these areas with a whitewash solution, then the disease will not have the opportunity to attack the plant. We will talk about these rules in more detail.

If you no longer doubt whether it is necessary to whitewash the trees, then you should know the time frame in which it is better to do this. Focus on the weather. The sky should be clear, the ground unfrozen, but not yet warmed up, so that the larvae and spores wintering in the bark do not have time to activate. The last days of March - the first days of April are the best times.

As for the process itself, it is very simple. First, you must examine the tree trunks, clean them of growths of moss and lichen, remove the old bark. After that, you should cover up all damaged areas of the trunk with a special putty or garden varnish. And only after that, you can already proceed directly to the treatment of trees with a solution. A spray gun or a large regular brush is often used as a tool. They begin to apply the solution from above, from the forks of the branches, going down.

Whitewashing solution is not necessarily traditional lime. Today, stores offer special ready-made powders that are simply diluted with water. No hours of soaking, swelling, settling. I added the powder to a bucket of water, mixed it - and you're done! But if you don't want to experiment, whitewash the trees with lime, the old fashioned way. The recipe for the solution is simple: a bucket of water, 2500 grams of lime, 500 milliliters of copper sulfate, 200 grams of wood glue.

There are also clay compositions for whitewashing, acrylic paints. The latter are the most durable. They stay on the trunk for over a year. But lime and clay are natural and environmentally friendly materials.

Whitewashing is not always a good thing for the tree. If your trees are still very young, and their bark is smooth, then the solution, getting into its pores, can really clog them, thereby slowing down growth and development. If you still decide to whitewash the young, then choose the most environmentally friendly solutions - lime and clay.Of course, they are quickly washed off by rains, but it is better to process the trees in autumn again than to lose them altogether.

Those trees, on the trunks of which last year's whitewashing, do not need whitewashing. Even the partial presence of a layer of whitewash is already good protection.

How many times and when to whiten

It turns out that you need to whitewash trees twice a year: in the fall work is performed just before the frost, when the air temperature has steadily dropped to +3. + 4 ° C. What for? From parasites. That's exactly what he told me. I believe that we are talking about pests and pathogenic microbes located in the folds of the bark. And further. In our region, icing often occurs, and, moreover, it can be quite serious. It turns out that ice never forms on a tree whitewashed with slaked lime! In addition, hares will not eat it (if they are found in your area)

Apple tree sapling gnawed by hares

In the spring the whitewash should be updated, as the old one was most likely partially washed away by the autumn rains. When should you whiten? As early as possible, if possible, then in February "windows", if only there was a positive air temperature, at least one degree of heat! This is especially important for regions where winters are frosty and snowy, the soil freezes deeply, and spring comes timidly.

The fact is that in the event of a short-term increase in temperature, the sun will thoroughly warm up the trunks and large skeletal branches of trees, which will lead to the beginning of the growing season. It's good if the frost does not return, but what if suddenly the frost follows? The kidneys will freeze.

Icing is dangerous for trees

Lime reflects light well, so the heating of the tree will be minimal, and it will sleep peacefully until the onset of real stable heat, when the overall temperature of the air rises, and not just the surface of the tree trunk.

You can find a wide range of components and ready-made mixtures for whitewashing trees in our catalog, which combines offers from various garden online stores. View a selection of components and ready-made mixtures for whitewashing.

Dressing the young garden in white outfits

The bark of the young is very thin. It is easy to injure it even during the cleaning phase. What can we say about whitewashing. Before whitening young trees, carefully select the base of the future "paint". Plain lime can burn wood severely. Therefore, you will have to go one of two ways: check how the solution acts on woody skin in a small area of ​​the plant (apply and wait 2-3 days) replace lime with chalk.

Keep in mind that in young plants, not only the stem is necessarily painted. It is best to whitewash the entire post to the skeletal branches, and also apply the composition to the branches themselves.

We figured out how to whiten trees, depending on the season. In conclusion, it remains to wish you pleasant gardening and may your trees grow healthy and strong!

Which lime to use?

Lime mortars are still widely used for whitewashing. It is necessary to buy lime for gardening, and not building mixtures.

It is imperative to properly prepare the slurry. The solution should look like sour cream. That is, so that it does not run off like water and does not crumble into a fur coat.

Lime is diluted with adhesive and copper sulfate. You can use PVA, casein glue and Bordeaux as a substitute for copper sulfate.

The simplest recipe looks like this: we take a bucket of water, pour 2.5 kg of lime into it, stir it, add 0.5 kg of vitriol and 200 g of glue. We knead everything thoroughly so that there are no lumps. It is better to add water gradually, so as not to pour too much.

We give a little time for the suspension to thicken, and we begin to evenly cover the bark with the composition.

NOTE! Barrels can only be painted with slaked or quicklime. Do not cover live wood with bleach.

Whitewashing recipes

You can prepare a composition for whitewashing according to one of the following recipes:

  • Dissolve 2.5 kg of lime, 200 g of wood glue, 500 g of copper sulfate in 10 liters of water
  • Add 1 kg of rotted manure, 1 kg of lime, 200 g of copper sulfate to a 10 liter bucket of water and mix. Then let the solution sit for 2 hours.
  • 2 kg of slaked lime, 100 g of casein glue and 400 g of copper sulphate, pour 10 liters of hot water
  • 2 kg of slaked lime, 1 kg of fatty clay, 250 g of copper sulfate, 1 shovel of manure, pour 10 liters of water. Let it brew for 2 hours.

In addition to homemade compositions for whitewashing trees, you can use ready-made acrylic or water-based paints. They already contain all the necessary substances and elements that protect the tree from the sun and pathogens. But there is one caveat: under such paints, the bark of trees practically does not breathe, therefore they are used only on adult plants.

Homemade whitewashing compounds can be combined by adding and changing ingredients

Whitewashing trees with glue, or rather compositions with its addition, improves their adhesion to the trunk and skeletal branches. In this case, the whitewash is not washed off the tree so quickly, and it remains protected longer.

Despite some skepticism that many summer residents have about the need to whitewash garden crops, we still recommend doing it. Firstly, this is an additional measure to protect trees and shrubs, and secondly, the opportunity to inspect the site for the last time before winter and put it in order.