A whisper from the woods

Ask me (almost) anything, April 2023

Apr 19, 2023

In this month’s article, Mark tells us more about when trees and white paint come together.

“I often see trees that are painted white at the bottom, but I am not sure why. Is this for decoration, or does this have a specific function?” someone in our community asked.

Mark jokingly starts by saying that “On the beach, which is frequented by beach-goers after dark, it is a visual signal to beware of walking into them – especially if you have had too much to drink!”

However, there is more to the white paint. Mark tells us that there are three main reasons why people in different countries paint the base of trees and palms with white paint or latex (rubber solution).

The most common purpose is to deter various insects that might infect the tree through the bark, their trunks, or the upper limbs carrying fruit. This is a form of biological control of insects without killing them with pesticides.

The next, and most common reason, is for sun protection, just as we would use sunblock on our skin to avoid sunburn. Young trees can be harmed by the intense sun in their early growth and the paint shields the soft tissue from UV radiation.

Lastly, the third reason is for visibility in certain locations such as roadsides and areas where large numbers of people might gather and walk into tree trunks in the dark.

In some cases, the trees might just be innocent bystanders. In Greece, the Easter tradition is to white-wash surfaces, and trees may just be caught up in the festive mood!

So, there is a reason for everything in our global human society… Caring for trees, is important to us!

Thank you for the interesting information you shared with us, Mark! As always, we appreciate hearing from you and learning from you.

Have you seen white-painted trees in your area? If yes, please share your photo and your country on our Facebook Community Forum!

Do you have a question for Mark? Send him an email, or drop your question in the comment section below!

Please share this. Thank you!

1 Comment

  1. Kika Gusmão

    Very nice article, thank you for sharing so much with us Mark!


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