We are already used to seeing fruit trees with whitewashed trunks in early spring and autumn, but how many of you wonder why this is done? It seems to most that this ritual has an exclusively decorative function. We suggest you sort out the question of whether to whiten trees, and if so, when is it better to do this.
Why whitewash trees
The bark is a protective shell of the plant, taking on all the adverse changes in the environment - temperature fluctuations, too bright sun, sharp cold wind, frost, pests, rodent teeth and other phenomena. From such a load, it coarsens with time, crackes and exfoliates. Compare the smooth skin of a young tree and the cracked, rough surface of an adult or old tree. It is due to the fact that the bark of the plant gets hit first, it is necessary to monitor the state of its health.
Whitewashing of trees - a procedure aimed at the effective protection of tree bark:
- from winter and spring burns, when the absence of foliage makes the trunk and branches vulnerable to sunlight;
- from temperature differences leading to cracking of the bark;
- from frost pits;
- from pests that inhabit the bark of trees.
Pictured: Preparing a solution to whiten trees
Therefore, treat whitewashing of boles and skeletal branches of trees should be responsible. Moreover, both fruit and decorative trees should be whitened.
When to whiten trees
When to whiten trees in autumn
Professionals insist that whitewashing should be done twice, or even thrice a year - in early spring, summer and autumn. The main whitewash is considered autumn. It is carried out in October-November, just before the frost. Whitewashing of trees in autumn is done in order to protect them from fungi and pests, settled in the bark for wintering. In addition, the whitewashing of garden trees, as well as ornamental ones, protects their trunks from the formation of ice, and hungry hares will not gnaw at the bark covered with lime.
When to whiten trees in spring
But if you were not able to whitewash the trees in the winter, you will have to do it in February - at this time in the afternoon the trunks without whitewashing heat up to 11 ºC, and this temperature is enough to start sap flow in the trees. At that time, nighttime temperatures drop to -10 ºC, and the juice that comes into motion during the day freezes. As a result, tearing of wood tissue and the formation of frost holes - long and deep cracks in the bark can occur .
The white coating on the trunks and bases of skeletal branches, repelling the sun's rays, does not allow the tree bark to warm up to the temperature at which their awakening begins, therefore, night frosts on trees are not so scary.
In the photo: Whitewashing trees in the garden
If the autumn whitewash was carried out on time, in the spring - in February or March, or even in early April - it needs to be refreshed.
Do I need to whiten trees in summer? If the whitewash layer was washed off in the spring and summer rains, it is better to restore it, but if the trunks are covered with a persistent indelible composition, then there is no need for summer whitewashing.
Autumn, spring and summer whitewashing is carried out only in dry weather.
How to whiten trees in autumn
Preparations for whitewashing trees
You can whitewash the trees with lime mortar, emulsion or water dispersion paint.
The whitewash should consist of three components:
- chalk or lime, since only the white color of the paint guarantees reflection of sunlight;
- glue or clay for the composition to adhere to the cortex;
- disinfection fungicide - preferably, it was copper sulfate.
The protective qualities of lime mortars, which gardeners have been using since time immemorial, are not very high, and they are washed off quickly, but their advantages are the simplicity of the formulation and the affordable price.
Garden whitewash based on lime is prepared as follows: 2.5-3 kg of chalk or slaked lime, half a kilogram of copper sulphate are diluted in 10 liters of water and a few tablespoons of flour paste or 100 g of casein glue are added - all this is carefully and carefully mixed so that the components dissolve, after which the composition of the whitewash for the trees should be infused.
Here are some more recipes for lime whitewash:
- in 8 l of water you need to stir 1 kg of manure , 1 kg of lime and 200 g of copper sulphate, after which let the composition brew for 2-3 hours;
- 2 kg of slaked lime, 400 g of copper sulfate, dissolved in a small amount of hot water, 60-100 g of casein glue should be mixed with 10 l of water - this composition stays on the trunks for quite some time;
- 1 kg of oily clay, 2 kg of slaked lime, 1 shovel of cow manure and 250 g of copper sulphate are stirred in 10 l of water, after which they are insisted for 2-3 hours.
Water-based garden paint is absolutely safe for trees and durable - a breathable vapor-permeable coating resistant to water and direct sunlight is formed on the tree.
Water-dispersed garden paint, in addition to pigment, contains an antiseptic, latex and various modifying additives. It is breathable, but it does not transmit ultraviolet and other rays to the surface of the tree bark, which are dangerous for foliage-free plants. In addition, this paint lasts for quite some time on the trunks - up to two years. The tree trunks are covered with water-dispersion paint at an air temperature of at least 3 ºC.
In the photo: How can fruit trees be whitened
You can whiten fruit trees with a self-prepared composition based on bustilate or other latex-containing glue. You need to take two parts of a binder (bustilate, for example, or PVA glue) and one part of a white pigment - kaolin or chalk. The ingredients are thoroughly mixed, and then water is added to them in small portions, bringing the composition to the consistency of oil paint.
Equipment for whitewashing trees
Usually, trees are whitened with brushes from a washcloth, but recently they have begun to use more often flat painting fly-brushes made of artificial bristles, flute brushes or the so-called macroloons. It is much more convenient and faster to work with them, since they equally well cover both the rough and smooth surface of trunks and branches. Some summer residents prefer to use paint rollers. But if you have a lot of trees and they are very tall, then it is better to use a spray gun for whitewashing trees.
How to whiten trees in autumn
Preparing trees for whitewashing
If whitewashing with lime or garden paint pursued only an aesthetic goal, it would be enough to cover the mushrooms to a height of 1-1.2 m, however, there would be little benefit from such whitewashing. You need to whiten the entire stamb and the lower third of the skeletal branches. On average, adult trees are whitened to a height of 1.8-2 m.
Before whitewashing, you need to prepare tree trunks for it. On a wet day, clear the trunks and the lower third of the skeletal branches from lichens, mosses and old exfoliated bark. You need to work in tight garden gloves without the use of scrapers, washcloths, brushes made of metal or plastic, since you can easily damage healthy bark.
Cracks and indentations are cleaned with a wooden knife or a sharp peg. Everything that you removed from the bark of a tree must be burned.
When the bark is peeled, it must be disinfected. It is better to do this on a dry day, when the forecast does not foresee rain, which can nullify all your efforts. To process the bark, a three to five percent solution of copper sulfate is used , having dissolved 300-500 g of the substance in a bucket of water. Instead of copper sulfate, preparations of HOM , Oksikhom, Abiga-peak or Bordeaux liquid can be used to prepare a disinfecting solution. Spraying is carried out at close range from a finely dispersed sprayer: water should not flow along the bark, it should envelop the bark of the tree with fog and settle on it.
In the photo: How to whiten fruit trees
However, it is undesirable to treat the trees with these drugs every year, since copper will accumulate in the bark, and its strong concentration can become toxic to the tree - it weakens, is more susceptible to disease, and suffers more from pests. Therefore, alternate fungicides with a soap-ash solution, which not only effectively disinfects the bark of the tree, but is also very useful for plants. A soap-ash solution is prepared as follows: 2-3 kg of ash and 50 g of grated laundry soap are diluted in 10 l of hot (but not boiling) water.
Ash liquor can also be used as a disinfectant: 2-3 kg of sifted wood ash is poured with a bucket of water, stirred for 15-20 minutes, brought to a boil, allowed to cool and infuse, then drained, filtered and diluted with water 1: 1. Trees are washed or sprayed with this fluid.
After disinfection of the bark, wounds in the trees need to be repaired. To do this, you can use three compounds:
- the first is clay talker: you can use clay in its pure form for its preparation by mixing it with water, or you can add manure and copper sulfate to the composition. For example, you can mix 200 g of clay, 100 g of mullein, a small amount of chopped straw, and then dilute all this with water to the consistency of sour cream;
- the second is a garden var, which you can buy or make yourself: 200 g of beeswax and 100 g of rosin need to be melted separately over a slow fire, then combine and add to them 100 g of unsalted fat, and when the fat melts, you need to pour the resulting mixture into cold water, then get it and roll it into a lump. Before use, the garden var is slightly warmed up so that it acquires elasticity;
- the third is rannet garden paste containing humate and blue vitriol. Put the paste in dry weather, because it is not waterproof.
How to whiten trees in autumn
So, after the leaf fall, prepare the trees, as was just described, and proceed to whitewashing. Some gardeners argue that only adult trees need to be whitened, because lime can burn the tender bark of seedlings. However, whitewashing in the autumn of young one-two-year-old trees and seedlings with water-based or water-dispersed paint will not harm them, and if you prefer to whitewash the trees with lime, then the composition can be less concentrated for the young.
In the photo: Whitewashing of fruit trees before winter
If you do not whitewash the boles and skeletal branches of young trees for the winter, the damage from spring sunburns can be much stronger than from lime. After all, seedlings grown in cramped nurseries are unaccustomed to direct sunlight, therefore, they will almost certainly suffer from the strong spring sun.
The whitewashing layer should not be too thick: if it begins to peel off after drying, it means that the tree will have to be re-bred. The whitewash thickness should be no more than 2-3 mm, and the whitewash mixture should be homogeneous, without lumps, and snowy white.
If the whitewashing of apples , pears , apricots and plums in your garden is carried out twice a year, your trees will become less sick, their decorativeness, yield and quality of fruits will increase, and most importantly, they will live much longer.