tree wrap

WendyB(5A/MA)November 6, 2008

I have a few new very young trees and I thought I would put tree wrap on this fall to prevent sunscald.

I was going to do this a few years ago for some other trees and purchased two kinds. I have a brown paper wrap and I have a white synthetic nylon-ish cloth-like type. Its kind of like the softer thinner landscape fabric.

Is one better then the other? The landscape fabric type probably breaths better (but looks worse).

What size diameter trunk would you recommend this treatment for?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

trees in nature do NOT need to be wrapped... why do yours????

you can cause more harm with too much love.. than with leaving mother nature to her own ...

IF there is another reason.. let me know.. and i might change my mind...

they are NOT your children.. and they do NOT need to be snuggled in for winter ...

if i was worried about sunscald .. i would put two stakes a foot or two away .. and staple burlap to that. ... leaving the tree untouched ....

once you move away from the simplicity of ma nature.. and start adding variables... you simply complicate your life ... and the plants life ...

what kind of trees??


    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 9:24AM
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The reason is because I have seen examples of scarred split bark on young trees and I want to prevent it. These babies are so tiny, it probably wouldn't take much to do them in. I am talking trunks pencil thin and THINNER!

I think in the spring I spotted some damage on one of my young trees that I had intended to tree wrap in previous winter and did not. I made a mental note to tree wrap this fall for sure, but I am vague right now on what it was that I saw that triggered that.

I also try to follow the 'give mother nature a chance' rules about stake only if absolutely necessary and only for a year. But I found two uprooted 3-4 year old trees this spring that were still not rooted in sufficiently! Last winter was exceptionally tough with wet heavy snow here. Broken branches on almost ALL shrubs and young tall trees were bent over on the ground.

IMO when mail order places (even allegedly high quality ones) send trees with tall super skinny trunks with not much root system (they fert to encourage top growth not root growth), all bets are off.

Anyhow, I am on the verge of ranting... so back to the topic..

The trees to wrap are new this year and super skinny: acer griseum, hornbeam, sourwood, acer shir. autumn moon. Slightly older but still under-developed: nyssa sylvatica, acer triflorum, acer Aureum.

What do you say now?

Here's a pic of one of them:

Deal or No Deal?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 1:33PM
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Paint before you wrap. Wrap is bogus.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 2:30PM
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goodhors(z5 MI)

I am going to try using some corrugated plastic drain pipe, split lengthwise, to protect my Tulip trees. I have heard Tulips are especially prone to sunscald, and the local rabbits will probably girdle them without protection.

I have seen the corrugated pipe in use, had some laying around to give it a try. I have spent TOO MUCH this year on caging trees and shrubs. I figured to just tie string around the pipe, keeping the split closed after putting it on the tree.

I did wrap a tree for a couple years with the brown paper stuff. I could not tell that it did anything to help or hinder the tree. Found some egg cases under the wraps of paper. You do have to get it off in spring before growth starts. Just was a time waster for me and that tree, so I quit. It was a Butternut, rather small, never did grow well and I removed it after about 8 years. Still very small, while the other one purchased at same time, grew nicely, showed steady progress. Still growing nicely, though slowly.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 9:15PM
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dr_andre_phufufnik(Blsk, Voynovia)

Trees in nature are girdled by voles and rabbits. And young trees tend to be shaded by larger trees in natural settings.

But when we landscape, we plant trees in unnatural places. And we don't tolerate animal damage very well.

I have lost several trees to winter sunscald. Until they get big enough to develop that thick, corky bark, it won't hurt to wrap them in late fall-early winter.

I use the paper wrap here in zone 4b, especially on young maples, crabapples and cherry trees. I find oaks don't need it. Birches don't need it.

The only problem with wrapping the trees is when it's on the tree in warmer weather. I will be wrapping mine in a few weeks. I always remove it in early March.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 10:50PM
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mdvaden_of_oregon(NW Oregon)

You were questioned about your trees in relation to wild trees. Don't go down that path of reasoning right now. I think you are on the right track to treat your trees as landscape trees. Get wild trees out of this scenerio right now.

Trees in nature don't get pruning either, and can retain weaknesses that a pruned landscape tree would not experience. And that's why forests also have FUNGI, to decompose broken trees. The trees we see in forests, are not all the trees that have lived in the past decades or centuries - just the ones that survived.

As for the trunk wrap, it's doubtful that you would need any right now for SUNBURN.

SUNSCALD on the other hand is a POTENTIAL winter injury. Or an injury that potentially can occur in winter or the cool season.

Sunscald is one of the most badly named problems that there is. The sun does not do the damage. It's the cold that does the damage. The sun merely stimulates the bark region on the south and southwest, and the damage occurs when cold or freezing occurs afterward.

Recently, I wrote an article about both of these for an online municipal arborist site. The most recent research available is still limited, but indicates that wraps which CONTACT the trunk, are not proven to be reliable.

But it's crystal clear that protection is needed on the South or Southwest side of the trunk to prevent warming of the trunk tissue while the tree is young.

That means the best possible option is to place a BARRIER between the trunk and the sunlight. Such as driving a couple of small stakes, or a few small stakes around one side and putting the screening material on those, and leaving a gap of air between the screening and the tree trunk.

Again, the sunlight needs to be blocked - but wraps contacting the bark are not provent to be reliable.


Sunburn + Sunscald

For pages or articles that discuss or compare both types of injury.

Do NOT compare landscape trees with wild trees. Wild tree receieve consequences that we do not want in landscape situations where trees are properly nutured for our LANDSCAPE needs and wants.

And wild trees naturally germinate and propagate in different conditions than landscape trees STORED in nursery row conditions.

Hope that helps.

M. D. Vaden of Oregon

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 12:32AM
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I purchased 5 trees this fall and was advised to use the white corrugated "drain pipe" on all 5 by nursery. The black color absorbs heat which could result in freezing/thawing so they recommended the white. The paper tree wraps can trap moisture, this happened to a maple years ago with me so I wouldn't use it. I also have alot of rabbits and they could damage my baby trees. Last year I notice the rabbits ate bark off a hedge in back yard, luckily they are well established and no harm. If they got to my baby trees they would be dead. I don't like how the white tubes look but...what are you going to do. Do you know if you should take off the tubes in spring and put back in fall?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 9:03AM
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This is the first year I'm in my current location and am learning to live with the local wildlife--herds of deer. This is rudding season and in nature, deer tend to do a bit of damage in November around here on the local trees. At first I wasn't going to wrap, thinking it was just one tree, well this year they got to a few others (both evergreen and deciduous Magnolias) and I learned my lesson. I'm sure the trees will recuperate as they weren't girdled and the damage wasn't that bad, but why take any chances. They seem to really like the Magnolias though and although Magnolias are listed as deer resistant, they love their smooth bark for cleaning their antlers. I know what you're saying about the unnatural white, plastic tubes. What I did was wrap that natural, bark-colored tree wrap paper around the ugly plastic tubes so they don't look so bad and I'm hoping it'll just confuse the deer and they'll pass them up. I will take them off in the spring and put them back on again the following fall. I thought they just frayed smaller trees but I have a large saucer magnolia they looks like a bear attacked it. So, I have to do this regularly unless I fence the place in.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 1:57PM
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brian_zn_5_ks(N.E. Kansas)

Years ago, the local orchardists would paint (or whitewash) apple tree trunks for winter bark protection. The apple orchards are long gone - housing developments and strip malls, of course...

I wonder if that treatment actually did any good, or was it just a persistent practice that growers "had always done it that way"? Anyone know?


    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 6:43PM
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I am using protection on my new trees this winter. I lost two lovely serviceberries last year due to rabbit damage. They just didn't nibble, they feasted.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2008 at 7:11PM
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I use white plastic wraps on my very young redbuds, mostly to keep the rabbits from munching. It goes on in November and comes off in March. For the newly panted small shrubs, I set chicken wire around their perimeters (not up against the shrub itself)for the same reason. As soon as I see lower branches or twigs being neatly sliced off and more often than not left on the ground, I start the protecting.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 10:06AM
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mdvaden_of_oregon and others -

I live on the Chesapeake Bay so sun scald and wind damage is a fact of life. In winter, cold winds blow for days, mainly out of the N, NE and NW, in addition to strong sun in areas that face S. For two years, I planted the driveway area with small trees and shrubs in early fall. Most were dead before spring because of wind and sun damage.

This year, I am replanting this area after thinking about what is more likely to survive. I planted a few Heritage river birches. In front of them (facing south), I am planting itea virginiana and sarcocolla for fragrance. Also nandinas. I need to create a wind/sun break to help them get established in the first year.

I thought about using silt fence - pre-made stakes and fabric - but I don't think this would be tall enough. I am interested in your suggestions about driving stakes and attaching a screening material. What screening material would you recommend? Any other ideas that will help to make this 3rd round more successful?

Many thanks,

Do you have suggestions about what to use for the screening material so air flow is not impeded but the young trees and shrubs are protected?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 11:06PM
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In my area I have seen some junipers and other misc evergreens wrapped w/burlap. I have also seen it recommended a spray that helps over winter to keep them from getting dehydrated/winter burned over winter, can't remember what its called, I am sure most nurserys sell it.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 3:21PM
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