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Why Do They Paint Trees White – 3 Main Reasons

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Trees are made for demanding conditions. Therefore, they are very vigorous and adaptable. They are designed to provide protection for themselves and some other species that live in them.

Young trees need a certain amount of time for them to get stronger, and they need some help to survive in their early years.

If you ask yourself the question, “Why do they paint trees white?” This article has the answer to that question.

So without further ado, let’s get right to it.

Why Do They Paint Trees White
White paint on trees – via Wikimedia

Why Do They Paint Trees White

Tree trunks are painted white because the young trees need some protection from the environment they exist in. Due to this, people paint trees white to seal their trunk and protect it.

1. Protection

People paint the tree trunks white because they can help in shielding the saplings and protect the younger trees from all kinds of damage.

This practice is common in orchids and tree farms. Of course, there are a number of other purposes for this action as well, but the primary objective is that this offers the protection of the trees against harsh environmental conditions.

The tree trunks also need protection from cracking, and this paint gives them extra strength, which helps them prevent splitting.

When the tree is young, its bark is soft. That is the reason that it is prone to damage.

Insects are also another thing that trees need constant protection from. Insects start eating the trunk of the tree, which hinders its growth and makes it die prematurely. In addition, young trees are more likely to be infested with insects. This paint helps protect the trees from such insects.

The paint also offers protection from the fungus. The fungus can also suck out the nutrients from a tree. So they are another thing that the young trees need protection against.

2. Should Paint Even Be Used?

There is still some debate around whether trees should be painted or not. The white paint protects the tree trunk from harsh sunlight rays as well. However, using the wrong product on the trees will do more harm than good to them.

You need to use water-based latex paint, which you apply to your tree. The paint further needs to be diluted. It would be best if the dilution ratio is one gallon of latex to 5 quarts of water.

It would be best if you were careful while using oil-based paints. Some studies say that you should never use oil-based paints on your trees. The tree won’t be able to respirate in such a condition, and there is a likelihood that rodents will start nibbling at the trunk of your tree.

You can also add rodent repellent to the trees to make sure that rats stay away from the bark of the tree.

Some experts recommend that you should only use interior paint. But these are opposed by others that say that latex paint is the best. In addition, it would be best if you kept in mind that some paints contain additives, which can be harmful to the tree.

You have to make sure the paint you use doesn’t have anything which can harm the plant.

It would be best to use paint with an organic base to get rid of this concern. Also, you can use any light color instead of white on the tree.

Keep in mind that you need to stay away from a darker tone because they absorb a lot of sunlight which can be harmful to the tree.

Also, remember that the best application method is by using a paintbrush. If you use spray, research says that it doesn’t provide adequate protection for the tree and doesn’t even stick appropriately with the tree.

Adding one coating to the tree should be sufficient for the tree to thrive.

3. Protection From Southwest Injury

If you have planted trees in the past, have you ever noticed the tree’s bark buckling off the tree trunk? This is more common in younger trees and is known as ‘southwest injury’.

Southwest injury is a bigger problem in countries that are generally warm. For colder countries, it is not that common that you will find trees with southwest injury.

If the area you live in faces extreme fluctuations in weather, it is likely that the trees will start suffering from southwest injury. To prevent this, gardeners often use white paint.

The white paint reflects sunlight and directs it away from the plant. This protects the plant from the harsh sun, which can be detrimental to its growth.

So if you’re asking yourself the question of why do they paint trees white, this protection is the answer. They have to paint them a lighter color because a darker one would start absorbing more sunlight which would defeat the whole purpose of the paint.

When you paint the tree with white latex paint, you are essentially protecting all the tissues of the tree, which circulate water to a tree’s branches. Also, when you reduce warming in a tree, it will need less water.

This can be of use if the tree is growing in the wild where the only source of water is rain. This helps the tree in conserving water and prevents it from dying.

Sometimes, you may even need to paint larger branches from the side on which the sun is shining. Smaller branches are better at reflecting heat and may not need paint on them.


If you have ever noticed white paint on trees and then asked yourself the question of why do they paint trees white, this article contained the answer for that question.

Trees are mostly painted white to protect them from harsh sunlight and insect infestations. Mostly younger trees are painted, which are more prone to these things.

I hope this article helped you in increasing your gardening knowledge. If you have any questions, you can always reach out to us on the email provided.

Best of luck!