Winter Tree Wraps / Shades

I’ve been looking for other options for shading my young trunks from winter/snow sun as I don’t much care for painted trees nor the plastic wraps. Several years ago I was taking apart some old cold frame boxes and no other use for the boards so I screwed two together in a V, pounded fencing staples near the bottom to put metal stakes through and installed these on the south sides of my trees for the winter. They work fine and are easy enough. But this year I had more trees and wanted something less cumbersome. As I already had hardware cloth around the trees for winter varmint control I thought why not wrap something around them (the hardware cloth not the varmints)? So I cut 7" wide strips from old sheets, spiral wrapped it around the hardware cloth, and secured with clip clothespins start and finish. Quick, easy, simple to make, use and store. So far they’ve held up fine to rain, wind and snow though we haven’t gotten any big snows yet. The hardware cloth protectors are secured with metal stakes so they’re sturdy enough. Everything comes off when the snow melts in the spring. How do others in snow country protect your trees from sunscald splits and damage? Sue




I tried a towel hung around a wire cage on a couple rhododendrons several years ago. It eventually got wet, froze solid, then blew over in the wind.

I generally use a combo of white latex paint (diluted) and plastic spirals. For the smaller trees I use commercial white spiral. For larger trees I cut my own out of corrugated plastic drainage pipe. When a tree outgrows the 4" drainage it gets a short hardware cloth protector for rodents. I also put out “gopher food” on a regular basis during the winter, to try and keep the tree eating rodent population under control.

We have strong winds here every winter (usually 100mph+ a few times during the season). Your cloth covered HW cloth looks great, but would not stand up to the winds here for long. Same for your wooden protectors, unless you guyed and staked the top of the wood. But if they work in your climate, great.

I tried spraying on the dilute white latex this year and it sped things up considerably, you might check out the post on that if the time involved painting is what you don’t like.

Our normal high winds are gusts to 30 or 40, rarely higher here since we live a ways inland from the Lake and in the midst of forest. I agree, especially the wood shades would not work in high sustained winds. I thought about clipping a larger piece of fabric to the some of the individual fenced trees outside the regular area but it was easier, and less material, to just wrap around the smaller hardware cloth rodent barriers. I can see though how a large cloth would be too much of a sail. I think the sheets around the hardware cloth is working because it’s a fairly small area (maybe 6" diameter) and the sheets are light weight. Plus I do have the hardware cloth staked down as I have had them blow against the trees even without the winter covering.

I know lots of folks use paint and plastic spirals successfully but I just don’t care for the look. Plus I lean toward wanting the tree trunks to be able to breath and have some air circulation, though I do paint the bottom foot or so with my version of Fedco’s anti-borer paint (the milk/oil version). I only have about 30 trees to wrap so it isn’t a time thing. But if I had a lot to paint I certainly would try your spraying technique, Steve.

I do have some plum/chums seedlings (someday apricots) planted behind medium sized (at this point) white pines for shading which I think will work, but I will have to deal with the tendency of those trees to grow very large!

I paint with white latex, drywall compound, and a bit of water. Use a cheap brush and just toss the brush when I’m done. I do have to pull the 3’ aluminum window screen rodent protection to paint the trunks, so it takes a while. It’s a labor of love I suppose