Why are tree trunks painted white?

If you have been to an orchard before then, chances are you have seen trees painted white at the trunks. While this might seem like a fun and interesting thing to try, it serves more than an aesthetic purpose for your tree. Knowing why are trees trunks painted white will help you, especially if you are a new farmer. This article will answer the question, ‘Why are tree trunks painted white?’

Why are tree trunks painted white?

Why are tree trunks painted white?

Painting tree trunks white is a method that has been used for ages. Many people can trace it to years ago when they would see their grandparents paint trees white. While they did not think much of it, it is common to find many trees painted white today, which shows how beneficial the practice is. Here are the main reasons why people paint their trees white to this age.

To protect the tree from sunburn

If you look around you, you might notice a couple of trees that have buckled up barks. While these trees might be all grown and mature, they are not a pretty sight to see. It is for this reason that many people choose to paint their trees. The painting is done when the trees are still young since that is when they are most vulnerable, and this ensures the method is effective. Once a tree has buckled, you cannot do anything about it.

Helps deal with harsh winters

Winters tend to have extreme temperatures, which can harm your trees. You might have intense sun in the day and very cold nights, which will affect your tree’s bark. If you are not careful, you will end up with a tree with a cracked bark because of all the temperature changes.

Reduces pest attacks

Other than making your trees look ugly, a cracked bark makes our trees susceptible to attacks by insects. Often you find that the insects will get into the tree through the cracks. Cracked barks also make your tree an easy target for rodents that might burrow their way into your tree trunk. With all these attacks, your trees will most likely get destroyed before they reach full maturity. In severe cases, the fruits from these trees will also get affected.


Even though this is not a common reason why trees are painted white, in areas where people tend to drive into trees at night, they are painted white for easier visibility. It happens mainly on trees planted by the roadside.


Painting trees white at the trunks makes them look beautiful, especially when planted in rows. Some people do this simply for beautification. With all these perks, it is no surprise that so many orchard owners still paint their trees white.

Why are tree trunks painted white and not any other color?

If the sole purpose of painting the trees is to protect them, then why not use any other color? Many people are curious about that. Countries like Australia have people paint tree trunks blue, but they have different reasons. The main reason people paint their tree trunks white is that it is considered the most harmless color.

Many companies make white from organic compounds, which reduces the impact the paint will have on the tree. You can also make your white at home if you are skeptical about the store-bought colors. People paint their trees white because it is very reflective and will help, especially when the area the trees are planted in receives a lot of sunshine. Other colors absorb some of the heat, which beats the whole point of painting the tree in the first place.

How to choose paint for your trees

Why are tree trunks painted white?

When you choose to paint your trees white, the first thing you will need to do is get the right paint. While there are so many paints in the market, not all are suitable for painting trees. The first thing you need to ensure you do is to get water-based paint. It will let the trees breathe while still offering a protective layer. You can also choose one that is organic because that is the safest around your trees.

If you do not want to use paint, white latex will do. Just like the paint, ensure it is water-based. White latex is commonly used because it stays on for longer and causes the least harm to your plant. If you want to go all-natural, then a hydrated lime and salt mixture would still do. It might not stay on for longer, but it will work all the same.

How to paint your trees white

Why are tree trunks painted white?

If you are using paint, then mix your paint or latex with water in the ratio of half and half. If you plan on painting over the trees twice, then ensure the first coat has less latex or paint. You can then thicken it on the second application.

Using a brush, paint over the tree trunk, starting just below the soil level and reaching two feet on the trunks. Let it dry a little before you apply the second layer. Painting it this way will ensure the tree stays protected no matter how tall it grows. If you want to protect it against rodents, you can always add a little rodent repellent into your mix.

Alternatives to painting your trees

If you have doubts about painting your trees, you can wrap them up in plastic paper to help protect them from rodents and pests. Some people even use plastic or cloth tape. The only issue with these other methods is that they will not let the trunk get the sunlight. Paint for the tree acts the same way sunblock works for you.

Why are tree trunks painted white?: Conclusion

Taking care of your trees means finding the most effective ways to make your trees grow. If you do not love all the chemicals put in your trees, the painting will be a great way to protect your trees. Ensure you paint them when young to get the most benefits from it.