Why Are Some Trees Painted White?

Updated: Apr. 25, 2024

Ever wondered why some trees are painted white? There's a reason behind it!

If you wander around the internet long enough, it’s inevitable you’ll fall into a heap of plant-loving people from all across the globe. And honestly, there’s no one more dedicated than people who plant trees. After all, it’s no small task to grow a fruit tree from a tiny sapling!

You might notice that tree planters have some interesting tricks—for instance, why do some people throw nets over their trees? And why are trees painted white?

Why Are Trees Painted White?

It’s possible you’ve seen trees painted different colors before, and usually they all mean a very specific thing. An orange dot usually means a tree is going to be cut down. Sometimes trees are painted purple to mark territory and warn trespassers. But what about white?

The lower trunks of trees may often be painted white to help prevent what is known as sunscald. This process happens in the winter when there are extreme fluctuations in temperatures causing the bark to split. Going from cold winter nights to bright sunny days can bring a lot of damage to tree trunks. The light color of the paint stops the wood from overheating and thus prevents future splits and cracks. Typically, you’ll find this kind of paint on thin, residential trees or on trees in orchards.

Ever wondered why some trees are wrapped in metal?

How to Paint a Tree White

The most important thing to remember is that the paint used should be water-based latex paint. You’ll also want to make sure the paint is diluted properly: one gallon of paint to one gallon of water. You can also use equal parts water, latex paint and joint compound to prevent boring insects from damaging the tree.

When it comes time to paint the tree, you’ll want to use a paintbrush. You are welcome spray the paint on; however, it may not stick as well to the bark and do the job you’re looking for. If done properly, this process only needs to be performed about once a year.