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Organic whitewash for tree trunks

Posted by Doug Newman 
Organic whitewash for tree trunks
December 22, 2014 10:29PM
Anybody know of a long lasting whitewash or paint for trunks that would be allowed for certified organic? Something that can be applied with a hand sprayer. I've tried quick lime mixed with an organic sticker... didn't last. Also tried a recipe with linseed oil. I want something that will last over the winter , at least. Anyone?

Doug Newman
Buried Treasures Organic Farm
Groton, New York
Zone 5b

Re: Organic whitewash for tree trunks
December 23, 2014 07:31PM
Not too familiar with growing apples in zone 5b, but curious if you're talking about stone or pome fruit trees, and how critical whitewashing is in your climate. We used to whitewash our stone fruit trees to prevent injury, and never needed to bother with doing the apples and pears. More recently, we haven't needed to do it for any of them. We contribute this to using a nutritional spray called "StoneAid", a product developed by Lancaster Ag Products. One of its claims is that it contributes to bark and fruit elasticity, and the claim has been well proven in our orchard both in healthier bark and in less fruit cracking. In addition, climate change may have contributed to this shift for us, but even in the extreme cold temperatures of last winter, we lost almost no trees to winter injury.

Clair Kauffman
Zone 6b, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Re: Organic whitewash for tree trunks
December 23, 2014 11:35PM
Clair thanks for the info. I have 2-4 year old trees; both apples and stone fruit. Not sure if painting is necessary; just trying to do what I can to prevent any problems.
Re: Organic whitewash for tree trunks
December 24, 2014 03:40PM
You certainly don't want to replant, so a "rather safe than sorry" is in order. I'm curious what other organic growers in your region are doing to mitigate this risk. There's been a nice amount of organic apple research coming out of Michigan State University (same hardiness zone as you). You might reach out to someone in fruit research there for advice...

Clair Kauffman
Zone 6b, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Re: Organic whitewash for tree trunks
January 16, 2015 07:59PM
Hi Doug,

I heard this same question asked by a new grower just last week.

There is a company called ECOS Paints that offers several organic paint solutions.


Per the ECOS website, it would appear that there is not currently a standard, or official certification, for 'organic' in paints for the US market.

Good luck,


ps After a massive battle with flat headed apple borer in 2011, I paint all of my apple and pear trunks of new & younger plantings and maintain that paint until the trees are 5-8 years old depending on their growth rate. I think the advantages are several and the time and cost per tree are minimal.

Gopher Hill Apples
Zone 8 in California
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