How can I protect my trees from Sun Scald?

Much like the sunburn in human beings, trees can also get the sun scald. Sun scald on plants can damage the outer layer of the plant’s skin. It can lead to permanent damage and a premature decline. Being exposed to too much strong sunlight, trees can develop lesions or damaged spots, that can allow diseases to enter the plant’s system.

Tree sun scald is common in younger trees, especially in the fall when the weather changes rapidly. Trees that get sun scald on their trunks can be stunted and they may not develop as much fruit as they should.

Types of tree sun scald
Tree sun scald is usually of two types – summer sun scald & winter sun scald. Summer sun scald happens in warmer climates and affects young trees. The tissue in the bark of the trees gets so hot that sells start to die and hence affects the health of the tree.

Winter sun scald happens in colder climates when the sun heats up the bark during the day and then temperature suddenly falls at night. These rapid changes in temperature damage the cells and hence it is called winter sun scald. Both types of sun scald cause lesions or breaks in the bark and can open up into large damaged areas, if not cured.

How to prevent it?
Treating sun scald is a matter of preventing it before it starts. A number of products have been used to prevent sun scald. They all work by keeping the tree safe from the extreme temperatures. White paint can help you to save your tree by reflecting sunlight and therefore keep the bark from getting too hot. Wraps will also hold in some warmth at night, but this will have a very limited effect on the low temperature reached. During the winter, brown coloured paper wraps actually absorb heat and can increase the temperature of the bark. So it helps prevent the tree during the colder months.

Over-pruning can be a serious issue that exposes too much of a tree to sunlight. A certified tree surgeon can advise and act accordingly to prune a tree for the season, the climate, and its positioning on your property. If you’re unsure how to prune your tree, please call our tree surgeon. We cover Potters Bar, Barnet, Enfield and Finchley.

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