Prevent Sunburn on Fruit Trees

All in One Almond

Busy is an understatement around here on the Asher Homestead with the various work activities required in the fruit orchard this time of year. What I have to say next may sound a bit odd to you, but… “We LOVE IT!”.  Especially after being cooped up inside for months.  It feels great to be able to stroll amongst my fruit trees observing the positive effect of last year’s growth. Cheeks kissed by the warmth of the sun and cool breezes skipping across my shoulders (at least the days I was outside – last several days it’s been hair tangling force winds and cold again).

Today the sun’s shining bright, but still too windy and cold to complete the task of spray painting our fruit trees. Painting our fruit trees with a 50/50 solution of 100% acrylic paint and water helps to prevent sunburn, which ultimately helps to prevent borer damage. Borers love to find their way into tree limbs and trunks by way of damaged/wounded areas on the tree (i.e., sun burn damage) which can ultimately result in the loss of a limb, trunk or worse, death to the tree itself.  This small ounce of prevention goes a long way in helping to save your investment… and future fruit crop.

Painting Fruit Trees

Before painting the fruit trees, it’s helpful to be able to inspect the surfaces of the tree and visually take-in the beauty of each tree’s bark color and patterns.  Like in the first photo above. The picture shows the attractive bark of a Flavor Delight Aprium © [a cross between an apricot and plum].  You can see the flower buds swelling along the smaller ancillary branches.  The buds will be opening soon and, here in the Las Vegas area, produce fruit sometime in early June.  The fruit from this tree is especially tasty and sweet. Here’s a photo of our Flavor Delight Aprium [on the left] and May Pride Peach fruit from last year’s harvest. Delish!

Fresh fruit from our orchard

When the fruit trees were between 1-2 years, it was fairly easy to make up a small batch of the 50/50 paint solution and paint it on the trees generously with a paint brush.  Now that the trees are older, there are a lot more branches to contend with and the entire structure of the tree is wider, taller and much more challenging to paint.  Getting into the interior of the tree to paint is the trickiest to complete without an “eye poke” or  scrape or two to the back of my hands and arms. That’s why we changed up our strategy this year by purchasing a refurbished hand-held paint sprayer and wearing appropriate protective gear to accomplish our painting task. Here’s a list of our essentials…

Protective Gear List

  • Gloves
  • Long sleeved shirt
  • Protective eye goggles / glasses
  • Disposable mask
  • Bandana (thought about this to protect my hair from paint over spray, but this was not an issue – at least this time around)

Our Paint Supply List

  • Hand held (HVLP) paint sprayer [HVLP = high volume low pressure] (refurbished – a less expensive option)
  • Heavy duty extension cord (for outdoor use)
  • Paint filters (to filter out any globs of paint before it can clog our sprayer)
  • One gallon of water-based 100% acrylic interior “flat” paint in white (objective is to reflect light/heat off trees)
  • Paint can opener
  • Water
  • Measuring cup
  • Small bottle brushes (to clean paint sprayer)
  • Stir stick
  • Rags and/or paper towels (for clean up)

With all of the winds we’ve been having, it’s been next to impossible to finish painting our trees.  It’s my hope ~ dream ~ prayer that I’m able to wrap up my painting task this weekend.  The swelling flower buds are getting ready to burst open and painting  the flowers (my future fruit) would not be a good thing.  Our pollinators would agree!

Hope you have a wonderful day ~ be sure to spend some time outdoors and enjoy!

God Bless,

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3 Comments

Filed under desert gardening, Fruit Trees/Orchard

3 responses to “Prevent Sunburn on Fruit Trees

  1. chris castlebon

    my question was more like ” how do you protect pomegranite fruits from sunburn” not the tree itself

    • Hi Chris ~ you have a few options. Some of more time involved than others.

      1. Cover exposed fruit with a piece of shade cloth or frost blanket. This method can be time consuming, especially if your tree has little leaf coverage and/or lots of exposed fruit.
      2. Apply (spray) a light coating of Kaolin Clay on the exposed side of your fruit. You can also use a “slurry” of Diatomaceous Earth and paint it onto the fruit. To make a slurry, simple mix DE with a little bit of water until it is a thick paint-like consistency. You may need to reapply if there is any rain.
      3. Setup a shade structure using 30% shade cloth to shade the tree in the hottest part of the day (protect from South and/or West sun).

  2. Lois

    Looks like lots of work, but I’m sure it will be well worth it. Try to enjoy the beautiful weather too. Good harvest to you and your hubby.

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