Liming of trees: what is it for?

whitewashed tree

Have you ever seen a tree that had part of the white trunk? This technique is known by the name of liming of trees, and the truth is that it has generated some controversy because, on the one hand, there are those who say that it does not harm the plant, while on the other there are people who think the opposite.

Let's see what are the advantages and disadvantages of liming trees, and how it is done.

Key features

how the trees are whitewashed

Lime is an excellent disinfectant that helps prevent the laying of eggs of numerous species of insects. This makes it serve as a repellent against numerous pests that can attack our crops. In ancient times it was used to disinfect water wells that were later used for human and animal consumption.

You have to know that during the summer season there are numerous pests that can attack our crops, especially if they are fruit trees. With the arrival of winter they stay in the cracks of the bark to hibernate and stay there all winter. This is how they survive to, after the summer, begin to attack our crops. If we use the tree keeper we can avoid that these hibernating insect species can persist during all this time and with the arrival of spring the tree can be completely healthy.

The white color of lime also has a trunk protection characteristic. And it is that the white color of the lime allows the sun's rays to be reflected and therefore provides the trunk with excellent protection against high temperatures. This is the reason why the tree manager is usually carried out in the spring time and during the months that this season lasts. It is not uncommon to see the tree keeper in parks or streets.

What is liming of trees for?

liming of the trees to protect

Let's see how useful the tree manager is:

  • Help prevent cracking of the new bark and that fungi and insects are not introduced into it. As we have mentioned before, these insects take advantage of these stripes to be able to hibernate and thrive so that they can survive until the summer.
  • It serves for keep away pests that can kill the leaves or fruits by laying eggs in its crust. This helps to increase the profits of the crops and their sale.
  • Protects trees that have a final bark from the intensity of the sun's rays. The high temperatures of spring and summer can affect those trees that have much thinner bark. Therefore, this white color of the lime can help to reflect the greater amount of incident solar radiation to protect it.
  • Just as they protect trees that have thinner bark, it can also protect the trunk from those who have run out of bark.

It is also good to know that with the rain or irrigation, the lime flows into the soil and causes the pH to increase. Over time this causes the soil to become more alkaline. In the best of cases, the tree will not be able to retain iron well, its leaves lose their color and the trunk can suffer some burns. In the worst case, the ability to photosynthesize can be reduced to such an extent that the tree dies.

If your crops have some kind of problem with the tree manager, it is better to consult a specialist who is capable of solving parasite problems and with a guarantee that it is an environmentally friendly solution.

History of liming trees

Like everything, this technique also has a story to 'tell'. It turns out that at the beginning of the 1909th century this practice was carried out in the barracks to keep the soldiers entertained. This is something that a Brazilian landscape architect named Roberto Burle Marx (1994-XNUMX) related.

Currently it is still being done because there are people who think that this way the landscape looks cleaner. But why? What are its advantages and disadvantages?

Advantages and disadvantages

When liming a tree, it is often thought that this will protect it from ants, but the reality is that, more than from these insects, it is protected from the sun, since lime reflects light and, therefore, also the heat. For this reason, the lower half of the trunk is painted, which is the one that is most exposed. However, this practice in the long run can pose a problem to the plant, since it is exposed to diseases derived from the inconvenience to breathe.

The paint is made up of chemical agents that affect the tree's respiration, as they alter the stomata, which is a part of the plant that it uses to breathe. Pedro Guillén, Forest Engineer from the Ministry of People's Power for the Environment of Venezuela, said it was "as if your nostrils were plugged ».

How to whitewash trees

liming of the trees

If you live in a very hot area and want to protect your tree trunks, do so in early fall. To do this, you have to mix lime slaked with water. Add as much as you need to make it look dense. Then, you just have to apply it to the trunk with a wide brush. We must bear in mind that this mixture must be dense enough so that it remains attached to the tree. Otherwise it will fall to the ground causing the pH level to rise too quickly. We take care that the lime penetrates well all the cracks and holes in the crust that It is the place where pests and fungi that can attack our crops are sheltered.

This technique of liming trees is not only used with those of the fruit type, but it is also valid for all types of trees. It's a fairly simple way to prevent pests from thriving in the winter and attacking in the spring and summer.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about liming trees and its characteristics.


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  1.   Murua, Francisco Lucas said

    liming, in what proportions is it made? with quicklime or common lime? I clarify that I do not agree with liming but it is difficult to twist the arm of those who want to do it yes or yes

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Francisco Lucas.
      It is made with slaked lime. You have to pour it into a bucket with water until it forms a dense paste.
      A greeting.

      1.    Fidel Tomines said

        The purpose of painting them can be for aesthetics or to protect them. The use of lime is not recommended, it is best to use paint of vegetable origin (latex).

  2.   Fernando quiroga said

    The plant suffers a lot with this practice I think that in young plants I have an old oak and its bark is inch and medium thick

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Fernando.
      There are people who do defend this practice, but I think it is more of a "torture" for the plant since it is prevented from breathing through the trunk.
      A greeting.

    2.    Thank you, Monica for your comment it helps me a lot. Good morning said

      Excuse me, I'm Miguel.

  3.   gustavo d. ramos vine said

    Liming trees is an ANTINATURE practice, and as Roberto Burle Marx said (it was used in the barracks to entertain the soldiers in something), and still others who are not soldiers continue to do it, being able to use that time in something more profitable for the very life of the same tree

  4.   Shots said

    Lime kills the larvae of pests that nest dormant during the winter to regrow in the spring. In other words: aphids (for example), when autumn arrives, leave larvae or suckers protected between the bark to withstand the cold season and attack the tender parts of the plant again when spring returns. If the tree is limed in autumn, those shoots are killed.
    Notice what it says "do it early fall." If it is to protect from the sun and heat, what is the point of doing it when the heat is gone? It is actually done to eliminate hibernating insects, as I said. If the advantage of eliminating insects outweighs the damage / annoyance of plugging the pores of the bark (which there are trees that do not even use to perspire), that is already another topic of debate, and I also suppose that the answer will vary according to the species of the tree , your age, etc.

  5.   Abigail said

    I whitewashed my trees and from all red drops drip from where it was painted why is this

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Abigail.

      They might have gum. In the link you have information about this problem.

      Greetings.