Whitewashing apple trees in spring: solution options and step-by-step instructions

For garden trees to grow well and bear fruit, they need careful care. One of the agrotechnical techniques that you want to perform regularly is the whitewashing of apple trees. It is included in the general complex of protecting trees from pests. This work is not considered difficult, but requires some knowledge and certain skills.

Timing whitewash apple trees

There is heated debate among gardeners about the timing of this procedure. Some are convinced that it is rational to carry it out in the fall, but they propose to abandon the spring - supposedly it clogs the pores of the bark and does more harm than good.

Supporters of spring whitewash argue their choice by saying that it is it that is able to protect the bark from exposure to sunlight, to save from pests, which are activated at this very time after hibernation. That is, it is spring whitewash that helps preserve tree health from the adverse effects of the environment.

Spring - time to do whitewashing apple trees in the garden to protect them from sunburn

So when is it really to whitewash the apple trees, so that it is scientifically correct and brings only benefit, not harm?

Experts believe that conducting spring whitewash helps protect the tree from the harmful effects of the sun. Agree that in spring the weather is very changeable. Throughout the day, the ambient temperature rises during the day, then drops below zero at night. The trunk of a tree with its dark bark actively attracts sunlight. This leads to the fact that the bark heats up during the day, and at night its sharp cooling occurs. This contrast can cause the bark to crack. If the trunk is whitened, this will help to reflect the rays, which will save the bark of the tree from burns.

Spring whitewash also protects against all kinds of pests that actively wake up after a long winter sleep. Depending on the region, the timing of the procedure varies.

Table: dates for spring whitewashing of apple trees

Southern regions of RussiaSecond half of march
The middle strip of RussiaFirst half of april
Northwest RussiaMid april

And in order to achieve maximum protection, it must be carried out according to all the rules.

How to whiten apple trees in spring

Whitewashing must be done in dry weather, since the whitening composition must have time to penetrate into the bark.

Staining is done with a brush. A suitable option for this procedure is the painter’s brush.

Macklower paint brush - ideal for whitewashing trees

The composition is evenly distributed over the entire surface of the trunk. Trees are bleached to a height that can be reached - at least 1.5 m. Young trees are bleached until the first branches.

Apple trees are whitened to a height of at least 1.5 m

Options for compositions for whitewashing

The composition for whitewashing must meet three mandatory requirements:

  • be as white as possible to better reflect sunlight;
  • stay on the bark for a long time and not wash off;
  • contain components to protect against insect pests.

Options for finished whitewash from the store

If you don’t have the time or desire to cook the whitewash yourself, you can buy it ready-made:

  • Michurinka is a dry whitewash for bushes and trees, it is easily diluted with water and has bactericidal properties due to special additives;
  • garden paint for trees - designed for coloring fruit trees and shrubs, environmentally friendly;
  • paint for trees Alliance - has a healing effect and well protects from insects;
  • whitewashing Block with lime and chalk - protects against sunburn and parasites by adding copper sulfate.

    Composition for garden whitewash can be purchased ready-made

Cooking whitewash yourself

If it is not possible to purchase a finished whitewash, you can cook it yourself. Most often used whitewashing lime.

Quicklime (pieces, limestone powder) and quicklime. To whitewash trees, use slaked lime. The procedure for extinguishing quicklime is not so randomly called: when water is added, a violent reaction occurs in which heat is generated. Therefore, this must be done with caution, strictly observing the rules that will help avoid burns. You can buy ready-made slaked lime or cook it yourself. The sequence of actions is as follows:

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  1. Lime is poured into a clean, deep container.

    Slake lime is put into a clean, deep container.

  2. Pour it with cold water in a ratio of 1: 1.
  3. With their interaction, a reaction will begin, in which the mixture boils: hisses and heats up. The boiling process can continue for up to an hour.
  4. After its completion, the contents are gently stirred with a wooden stick.

    Ready slaked lime is thoroughly mixed.

The composition of the mixture for whitewashing apple trees in spring includes the following components:

  • 2.5–3 kg of slaked lime (fluff);
  • 10 l of water;
  • adhesive base - 200-300 g of flour paste.

Experienced gardeners advise adding clay to the classical composition of whitewash (the consistency should have been similar to 20% sour cream), copper sulfate (500 g) and a little milk - this makes the solution less fluid and more resistant to the surface.

The easiest way is to first mix the dry ingredients, add 2-3 kg of clay to the mixture, dilute with water to the desired state and mix thoroughly.

Whitewash with water-based paint

When using water-based paint for whitewashing trees, a dense film forms on the trunk, which is not washed off by rains at all.

Water-based paint will protect trees from sunburn, but not from parasites

The main disadvantage of such paint is that it does not breathe. It can only be used on mature trees. Aqueous emulsion ink protects well from frost and the sun, but not from parasites. However, copper sulfate cannot be added to this paint, since in this case the paint darkens and the main purpose of the coloring is not achieved.

Video: the better to whiten apple trees

Preliminary preparation of the tree for whitewashing

Before you start directly painting the trunk of the apple tree, you need to carry out preparatory work:

  1. To clear the stamb from old dead bark, mosses and lichens, which are the source of fungi. This can be done with a plastic spatula, preferably after rain. All that was removed from the tree must be burned .

    Using a scraper, pieces of dead apple bark are removed

  2. Then you need to go to the place of future brushing.

    Scrubbing the apple tree trunk with a wire brush will improve whitening

  3. After that, the cleaned barrel must be disinfected with a solution of copper sulfate. It can be done independently. To do this, dissolve 100 g of the dry preparation in 10 l of water and process the barrel, waiting for complete drying.

    A solution of copper sulfate will help to further disinfect the trunk before whitewashing

  4. If wounds appear during the removal of the old bark, it is necessary to cover the injury site with garden var.

Place the wounds covered with garden var

Whitewashing of an old apple tree in spring

The process consists of the following actions:

  1. Prepare a solution for whitewashing and let it brew for 2 hours.

    The solution prepared for whitewashing should be infused for 2 hours

  2. Wear gloves to protect hands from contact with the solution.

    You need to carry out whitewashing with gloves

  3. Apple trees begin to whiten from unprotected sections of the trunk.

    Apple trees begin to whiten from sections of the trunk that have been pruned or broken

  4. Stir the solution regularly to maintain the desired consistency.

    It is necessary to mix whitewash to maintain the desired consistency

  5. The solution is applied with a brush in a thin layer, departing 4-5 cm from the soil level and about 30 cm from the lower frame branch (in young apple trees, only the trunk should be covered with whitewash, and in old trees the lower skeletal branches are allowed to be painted). Start whitewashing from below.

    If in young apple trees only the trunk is whitened, in old apple trees the lower skeletal branches are also captured

  6. Allow the first layer to dry. Stir the paint again and stain the apple with a second layer.

    After drying the first layer, you can apply the second

Especially carefully you need to apply a layer of whitewash on the south side.

Since there are quite a lot of apple trees in our garden, besides almost all of them are not very young, it takes a lot of time to whitewash them. We have to carry out pre-treatment of the trunks, and then whitewashing. We bleach apple trees twice a year, using for this purpose a solution based on lime with the addition of PVA glue, clay and milk.

Whitewashing of young apple trees in spring

Among some gardeners, there is an opinion that the whitewashing of young trees in spring is not needed. Proponents of this position argue that the apple trees are painted only after the bark has strengthened and cracks begin to form in it, in which insects can settle. This is an erroneous opinion. For a fragile plant, burns are even more undesirable. So it’s necessary to color young apple trees in white if you want to keep them healthy.

It is advisable to whitewash young apple trees with a mixture based on chalk

For young seedlings younger than two years old, spring whitewashing with chalk is more suitable, since lime can injure the delicate bark of a tree.

Here is one of the universal recipes for "paint" using chalk:

  • water - 2 l;
  • chalk - 300 g;
  • copper sulfate - 2 tablespoons;
  • clerical glue - 200 g;
  • clay - 200 g;
  • 20-30 g of malathion or carbamide.

All components are mixed until a homogeneous mass is formed and dyeing is started.

This composition serves not only as a preventive measure against sunburn and pests, but also increases immunity to various diseases. This is one of the universal recipes. By the way, in the fall it can also be used.

The bark of apple trees is their “skin”; it requires a careful attitude and care. The environment affects it daily, and this effect is not only positive. And therefore, regular whitewashing will have a beneficial effect on the condition of the trees. Apple trees will please with a generous harvest and will be much less sick.


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