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Painted Trees
updated: Apr 06, 2014, 7:39 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

Question: Driving north on 101 today (Sunday) I noticed a whole orchard of 4 foot trees with only 2 or 3 main branches coming out of the trunk and everything else removed. The weird thing was that every tree in this orchard was painted white. As we drove further north, we saw more of these stumpy white orchard trees. Does anyone have an explanation for this strange sight?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 509177 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-06 07:59 PM

Recently i was told that farmers do this to let the tree "rest" so next season they will remove the white paint and it will bear better/more fruit


 COMMENT 509180 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-06 08:06 PM

177 This is true


 COMMENT 509184 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-06 08:15 PM

Avocado trees are "stumped" to thin out crowded orchards, allowing for better light penetration which leads to higher yields, and lower height for harvesting. The white paint is to prevent the trees from getting sunburn


 HOOSIER NOT agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-06 10:35 PM

I heard that avo trees produce good fruit for a specific time. When fruit quality/quantity begins to decrease, the farmers cut the trees then allow them to grow back. By doing this the tree is fooled into producing better/more fruit for another life so to speak. They paint the trees white so they know the trees were cut at one time and once they reach that point where they don't produce as much fruit, there are no more lives left in the tree and it is permanently removed. Don't know if that is true but it sure is a fascinating story!


 COMMENT 509194 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-06 10:38 PM

ditto trunks painted to protect from sunburn.


 COMMENT 509205 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 08:16 AM

184 and seed lady are correct


 COMMENT 509208 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 08:25 AM

We stumped the avos in our small orchard four months ago. These 130+ trees are nearly 70 years old, victims of root rot (fungus) and dying in the drought situation.
We'll let them go dormant until June when we start watering again. This allows them to regrow into smaller but healthier trees. In about 2-3 years, we'll have fruit bearing again. If you want to see an example of 5 yrs. later, drive by Calle Real and Patterson corner on the south-west side. They look much better, although not all have regrown. Since the trunks have been sheltered by a canopy for the tree's life, sudden exposure to direct sun is hard on the stumped tree. The white reflects and eases that transition.
I look forward to our endless guacamole supply soon!


 COMMENT 509232 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 09:04 AM

SKOOBY, thanks! I saw when they first cut down the trees by Patterson and I always wondered why they did it. Thanks for the comprehensive explaination.


 COMMENT 509234P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 09:05 AM

Thanks for the question and all the info - had been wondering myself.


 COMMENT 509239 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 09:20 AM

Is it a special "paint"?


 COMMENT 509240P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 09:24 AM

They are stumping avos locally to save water. Local blueberry business is stumping, and will possibly shut down its berries completely in the next year or two due to drought.


 COMMENT 509264 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 10:39 AM

Priorities? Farmers who produce food have to cut back their crops or let them die so lawns can be watered. Does not make sense unless you think you can use water resources because you can afford the water bill. Oh and if you can afford higher water bills you can also afford higher food bills, no problem for some. Of course not all people who have money act like they are entitled and not all people who are poor save water. Time to act as a community invested in the well being of all people and creatures.


 COMMENT 509348 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 03:54 PM

264---I agree. Except to add that there are many agricultural/food growing sites that are extremely wasteful of water.
My family and I have been vigilant water savers for decades now. I am really really dismayed to see that SB CIty is going to raise our rates again. Gah. Now my sewer service is nearly as much as my water service.
On a good note: I see some in my neighborhood are replacing mini-lawns in the "parkways" (city owned strip of land, between sidewalk and curb) with drought tolerant plantings. How wonderful. And how sad that many people will instead "plant" concrete, just to keep from having to maintain their parkways. The City, by the way, does nothing, absolutely nothing, to keep homeowners from covering parkways in concrete and/or tightly fitted brick and pavers. What about our ground water?


 AUNTIE S. agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 06:38 PM

They're correc tly pruned avocado trees. The white paint is to protect the cut limbs. It promotes vigorous new growth and healthy trees. We have many of them in our orchard.


 COMMENT 509399 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 08:13 PM

240 is correct. It's a common practice for commercial growers whose water ration has been cut.


 COMMENT 509406 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-07 08:47 PM

I have an old avocado tree that is huge (30 feet high) and we can't reach the avos to pick them, even with extension ladders and extension pickers. I'm afraid to stump it but need to do something to bring it back to a reasonable size. Can anyone recommend someone who really knows avocado trees who could cut it back for me?


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