Sunscald aka southwest injury, occurs on trees when we have warmer days in the winter reaching above freezing temperatures and the southwest sunlight shines on the bark extensively.
The reason why the warm weather and the sun effect trees during the winter is because of tree dormancy, which is a process for survival. When the sunlight shines on the bark of the tree for too long, it can bring the cells in that area out of dormancy. When night time hits and the temperature falls back down, the cells that were tricked by the sun end up freezing and results to decaying of those cells. This can further lead to fungus diseases, which just speeds up the decaying process even more if not treated.
Omaha, Nebraska is very acceptable to sun scalding with our bipolar climate changes. Omaha can get pretty mild days in the winter,
it gets a lot of days where it’s 33+ degrees with the no clouds to block the sunlight. If there is snow on the ground, that can make trees even more acceptable to sunscald from the reflection off the snow.
Luckily there are few ways you can prevent your trees from getting sunscald without hiring an arborist. The main idea behind it is quite simple, lower the intensity from the sunlight on the bark, or block it completely.
Probably the most common way to do this would be to wrap it with something brightly colored, just keep in mind it’s important that the wrap reflects light. when wrapping the tree, overlap itself about 1/3 of the way, from the bottom of the trunk, up to where the branches spread out. If the canopy looks to be getting sunscald, you might want to hire an arborist to wrap anything out of reach to prevent injuries or even death. Make sure that if you do use the wrap method that you remove the wrap after winter is over. If you do not remove the wrap it can cause damage a number of ways such as, suffocate the tree, attract insects, and fungus.
Another method to prevent sunscald, which is a pretty easy one, is to paint the exposed bark white. It would be pretty handy if you already had some laying around, but just remember the paint method is permanent. It will take a long time for the paint to come off,
so it may be a better idea to use the paint method on trees that are in the back yard, or out on a farm, and not as visible to the public.
Another known method is shading. The amount of sunscald the tree endures is correlated with how much sunlight is coming from the southwest side.
Plant a shrub or bush to the southwest side of the tree to help block the sunlight, it probably isn’t as affective as wrapping, or painting, but it can be more aesthetically pleasing for the landscape.
So to all my fellow Omaha residents, please keep a look out for sun scalding on your trees, as sun scalding can result to less produce or even death of the tree if not treated soon enough.
Thank You For Visiting My Blog.