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Protecting Pawpaw Trees in Autumn – PAINT YOUR TREES!

Below you can see two photos. The top photo shows a pawpaw trunk which has split due to winter sun thawing and subsequent freezing. The bottom photo shows an undamaged tree that has been PAINTED. Why does this work? The white paint REFLECTS warm winter sun. If that sunlight is not reflected, it warms up the SOUTH side of the trunk (the side facing the sunlight all winter.) If the south side of the trunk warms up (and expands slightly), it can then freeze rapidly at night, and thus shrink down. When it rapidly shrinks, it can SPLIT. This can kill or severely damage the trees! I had it happen! It’s nearly always on the south facing side.

How to fix this?

PAINT YOUR TREES! You need to paint the trunk up to the first branches, and the “armpits” of the bottom branches. See the bottom photo.

A 50-50 blend of water and WHITE INDOOR Latex paint works perfectly. Don’t use OUTDOOR latex, only INDOOR latex paint. Paint the trees NOW in autumn before the severe cold arrives. The paint job might also help decrease insects like ambrosia beetles also. Nothing draws ambrosia beetles like a split trunk and a stressed out tree! So go out now and get some paint, mix with water 50% and paint those trunks! Otherwise they can split and this is very harmful to them. The bottom photo is from a pawpaw at KSU that was painted. Once a tree trunk splits, there’s nothing you can do (except paint it so it does not get worse). Happy growing!