Monday, January 18, 2010

Trunk Warmers

Starting in the fall, I began noticing the bottoms of tree trunks throughout the city being painted white. Though this might be common at home, too, I don't remember it. Curious about the reason for this, I asked the local high school student whom I tutor about it. She explained that it's to keep the trees warm (maybe because stripping trees of their bark is equally common here?) and was totally baffled that we wouldn't do this in the U.S., asking, "but, Teacher, how do the trees stay warm if you don't paint them?"

Some quick research has shown that there is some validity to painting the bottoms of tree trunks with white latex paint before the temperature drops to help them retain heat and keep from cracking. However, an alternate explanation from staff on campus is that the paint is meant to keep bugs away. I have no idea how effective the paint is at either purpose, but nevertheless take in this scenery  on my walk to the 9th-10th grade building every day.


  1. We noticed the white trunks everywhere we went in China. One of our guides said that the paint included lime to discourage insects. Who knows? Maybe it's just another way to put workers to work. Cutting the branches back is curious to me too.

  2. The bark of a tree is susceptible to sun damage as well as frost, so here in California the paint is the perfect sun screen as long as it is "Organic":) An added note - The paint doesn't have to be white. You can have a beautiful forest of pastels! As always, your pictures are great. Thanks for keeping us a part of this amazing journey!
    Love to you both. xoxo Mom