Tree Spiral Wrap vs Borers

I have always kept my plastic spiral trunk protectors on my apple trees year round. Now I read to remove them from April to October as borers like the environment under the protectors.

Would like to hear your experience with borers and trunk protectors. Thanks

I’ve thought about that myself and it seems to me that the spiraling type protectors would indeed be an ideal place for borers. There is enough air gap between the wrap and the tree to easily allow them in. And with the protectors in place the truck is not available for visual inspection.

I think I’m going to whitewash the trunks of my trees with latex paint. Not sure how much protection it offers but I’ve heard a lot of positives regarding it.

Borers can be tough. We whitewash regularly and it may help deter some but not much.
It does however make it much easier to spot a problem early on if you can make regular inspections in season. When caught early and killed, I find a vigorous tree is taxed very little. Left for even a few months I’ve seen young trees essentially girdled.

I left a spiral wrap on my newly planted Methley plum last summer to keep rabbits away. Really bad borer damage I didn’t catch til last week, killed 2 borers. Hope it lives, but I’m not optimistic.

I know I should have made hardware cloth cages, but it never happened.

Thanks for responses. Sounds like time to make hardware cloth cages.

At some point not too long ago there was a discussion on GW about old borer control methods circa 1910, they tried about everything and worming was the only truly reliable method of all the things they tried. Of course today you can spray lorsban, but beyond that there is no known reliable method. See for example

for one of these old reports.

I myself tried paint, it may have helped right in the beginning but within a few months I was getting many more borers. If you re-painted every couple of months it might do the trick. Tanglefoot at the bases can work, but you need to refresh it frequently and not let any gaps show. I used that last spring and still had borers this fall (though not as many). This winter I put on raw neem paste, I painted the paste on the trunks. I can still clearly see the neem there now so it is giving me a long window of protection. The hope I have for the neem is to make all the soil around the tree a borer unhappiness zone.

PS I found the GW thread -

@scottfsmith I get an error message when I click the GW link.

Scott, I was under the impression painting the trunk is more for the grower to be able to see any fresh borer holes?

I use a recipe found in Fedco Trees catalog made by mixing cheapest interior white latex paint with joint compound to ‘mayo’ or ‘thick ketchup’ consistency.
Paint trunks once a year from soil line to first scaffold in late spring. This has worked for me- no borers. Also keeping grass/vegetation back 2’ from the trunk zone so they don’t have cover.
Hardware cloth tubes for winter time- we got some hungry voles under the snow.
As the snow melts I see that I had only mild losses from voles this year in my nursery rows, unlike last year’s 30%- that was painful!

I heard on a garden show podcast an extreme approach, and that was to use a systemic insecticide and forgo fruit for a year. But that approach seems extreme, and if they keep coming back useless. The joint compound approach is what I use. It has worked so far.

Think I’ll try the Fedco potion. To my knowledge have not seen any borers in my fruit trees here on the Eastern Shore of Md. Do they prefer young trees? Does bark ever get thick enough to deter them?

Obviously the paint method is commonplace. When I heard of people doing this I wondered if there wold be a problem with the bark being able to breath or some type of suffocation issue but obviously not. Turns out trees don’t have lungs! Lol

Jesse, was this for apple borer or peach borer? The peach borer seems much more difficult to control. I don’t think Fedco is in a zone where peaches grow so I expect they are referring to apple borer.

Still, the idea sounds like a good one I may want to try. I was going to try something similar, I was going to mix paint with latex caulk to make super-latexy paint that might stretch as the tree grows.


Jesse- do you keep your hardware cloth cages on only in winter and remove in growing season? Am planning just to leave them on year round, lift them up to paint trunk in spring.

The recipe is meant to deter the apple borer, which are very harmful to young trees. The white color also helps see frass deposits, that’s why I like a fresh coat going into summer. There has also been some anecdotal reports that voles don’t like it either…add some white pepper powder perhaps:)
I leave my hardware cloth cages on at least 7 months. They are about 24"high 1/4" material. I take them off in the growing season, haven’t had any summer bark damage to my trees to change my mind on that, and it makes some chores easier to do without it on.
Another thing I’ve been doing is stomping down snow during the winter around trees I don’t have caged, and I think this makes a big difference for the voles.

Jesse- How do you close your hardware cloth cages? Sounds like something removable. Clamping on these small rings (like I was making a crab trap) is tedious.

I don’t use these but on my fencing I use plastic ties, and just cut them when I remove the fence. They make durable ties for fences, what I use. Got them at home depot web site.

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