Protecting Tree Trunks from Damage
There are several ways to protect tree trunks from sustaining environmental and physical damage. Here are some of the things you can do for your trees.
Tree wrapping in the fall has known to be fairly useful in helping prevent sun scald and frost cracks. Both problems are temperature related and occur during the winter months. For more information on sun scald and frost cracks, see the section on “Cracks in the Trunk, Sun Scald.” To wrap the tree, cover the trunk with tree wrap from the base of the tree to a point just above the lowest branches. Overlap about 33 percent with each turn. The tree wrap must be removed in the spring to prevent insect infestation and girdling.
Another product that can be used on the trunk is tree paint. White latex paint is often used in orchards to help prevent splitting and cracking. The paint will help reflect light and heat from the tree trunk. Due to aesthetic reasons, most homeowners are not interested in using tree paints. Both tree paints and wraps can be found at local garden centers and nurseries.
Another way to prevent damage to tree trunks is by proper mulching. To learn more about mulching, see the “mulching” section in the “Planting and Culture” category. Do not mound mulch onto tree trunks. This will invite disease and insects as well as mice. Mulch should be at least two inches thick and should be maintained each year. This will prevent weeds from growing around the tree base and provide an area to keep mowers and weed trimmers from cutting the bark.
One last thing that causes damage to tree trunks is improper staking and wiring. Check routinely for wire, strings, or ropes from rubbing up against the tree trunk.