The lone voice of horticultural reason

“Wrapping the trunk of a young tree with paper tree-wrap in the fall prevents winter sun scald.”line

No, wrapping the trunk of a tree with paper tree-wrap makes matters worse, and that’s been proven in studies conducted by the University of Minnesota School of Horticulture.

That brown paper wrap we buy in rolls should no longer be used. Turns out that it gets moist in the winter, from rain, sleet, snow that melts in sunlight, and then it traps moisture between the wrap and the trunk. Even when the paper appears dry, the bark may not be. Now the sun sets, temperatures drop into a nice freeze, and the bark of a young tree cracks more readily than if we had done nothing and left the tree to fend for itself.

Instead, two options: buy those white, plastic, ribbed tubes with a slit up the side and slide those over the trunks of your young deciduous trees (but be careful not to slit the bark with the sharp edge) or, do as the Renegade Gardener does. I took some 1″ x 6″ boards left over from a fencing job and screwed a pointed stake into the bottom of them.

In October, I pound the boards into the ground vertically on the southeast and southwest sides of the trunk, about six inches out. I pound them in tight to one another, so the edges butt up. In other words, I shade the trunk from the sun with boards, via a two-board mini-fence on the south side. I cut the boards to the proper height, so that the trunks of young trees are shaded from the ground all the way up to the first main branches.

The trunks are shaded from direct sunlight all winter long. Best of all, these “mini-fences” are darn close to attractive.

Don Engebretson
The Renegade Gardener