Whitewashing trees in autumn: instructions for use

Whitewashing trees is not only a decorative event, although whitewashed tree trunks in a cleaned garden look quite aesthetically pleasing. Spring and autumn whitewashing of trees is also necessary to protect trees from the sun and nighttime temperature changes, the actions of insects and animals.

In the public mind, whitewashed tree trunks are associated primarily with the holding of spring cleanups, symbolizing the onset of the warm season and aimed at the improvement and decoration of green spaces. However, it is autumn whitewashing that seems to be more important from the point of view of caring for the health of garden trees.

In the autumn, garden tree care also includes measures to ensure the protection of tree bark from external influences. In winter, the bark can suffer from rodents, which in the hungry months can gnaw the bark from the trees, and due to temperature changes day and night, vertical cracks may appear in the bark by spring. Therefore, in the fall it will not hurt to carry out or refresh the whitewashing of tree trunks, similarly to the same event held in the spring.

In any case, a tree whitewashed from autumn will be better prepared for the deceptive spring period, when in March the trunk may already be very warm, especially from the south side, it’s still cold in winter nights.

Whitewashing of the tree trunk also protects against insect pests that have managed to hide in the bark for the winter and put off the larvae.

Trees should be whitewashed in late autumn, after the fall of all foliage and the end of the rainy season. Trunks of trees must first be cleaned of dried bark, as well as from sections of the bark, on which there are traces of diseases, lichens, moss, old growths. You can remove lichens with a solution of salt, ash and laundry soap. For one bucket of solution you need 2 kilograms of ash, a kilogram of salt and two pieces of laundry soap. The components of the solution are thoroughly mixed and poured with hot water, then the solution is cooled.

The tree trunk is washed with this solution, and the infected areas of the bark are cleaned with a plastic brush. Lichens themselves do not harm the bark, they do not feed on organic matter, but lichens can attract pathogenic bacteria, so it’s better not to let them develop strongly. To clean the trunk of dried bark, use special wooden spatulas and metal scrapers and brushes. Some authors believe that cleaning the trunk should be done only with hands in garden gloves, so as not to injure the bark, but, most likely, this applies only to very young trees with an insufficiently formed cork layer.

Cleaning should be carried out carefully, after work, all wounds and damage are treated with garden varieties (resinous paste-like substance, sold in specialized stores).

Before whitewashing, a preliminary disinfectant treatment of the tree bark can be carried out. To do this, you can use a solution of copper sulfate, 10-5 liters of water requires 300-500 grams of vitriol and copper-containing preparations. With this solution, you need to spray the bark of the tree, so that drops of the solution settle on the bark, and not flow down from it. It should be borne in mind that copper has the ability to accumulate in the cortex and soil, so do not often use preparations containing copper, as well as iron. For disinfection, you can use a solution of ash and soap harmless to the health of trees. 2-3 kilograms of ash and 50 grams of laundry soap are diluted for 10 liters of water. With this solution, the trunk and branches are washed, ash in moderate amounts acts as top dressing for the tree.

You need to whiten the part of the trunk from the root (root neck) to the first skeletal branch of the lower tier of the crown, that is, the entire height of the tree trunk. A mixture for whitewashing is easy to prepare yourself. One of the simplest and most effective methods of making whitewash is to dissolve slaked lime in ordinary inexpensive white paint in a proportion of 2.5 kilograms of lime per 10 liters of water, whitewash is added to obtain a solution with a consistency of low-fat sour cream.

There are clay and lime-based mixtures on sale, such mixtures are positioned as highly environmentally friendly, allowing the tree trunk to “breathe”, their disadvantage is that they are gradually washed off and the whitewash has to be renewed.

You can use mixtures based on water-based paints, but they, as a rule, do not protect the bark of the tree from harmful insects, therefore, components containing copper are needed.

Mixtures based on acrylic paints with the addition of antifungal and antibacterial components do the job of protecting the bark from insects and diseases, but such compositions are not suitable for young trees, since the acrylic base is not "breathable".

Only trees that have already begun to bear fruit can be whitened, young seedlings need not be whitened for the winter, and the trunk is covered with suitable white agrotextile material. Whitewashing can clog the pores of a young tree, which will not allow it to fully develop.

It is necessary to carry out protective measures in the garden on a regular basis and as a result, your trees will look good, get less sick, and their gratitude will be a large and high-quality crop.

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