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How to Winter Wrap Tree Trunks

Some young trees need extra protection during the winter from a condition called “sunscald.” Sunscald occurs when sunshine is bright and strong and the temperature is cold. When the warm sun causes the bark on young trees to warm, this bark can then suffer damage when the sun sets for the day and the temperature falls dramatically back down into cold winter temperatures. The cells on the tree bark that warmed in the sun often die. When this happens, the bark falls from the tree. Gardeners can prevent sunscald by wrapping young tree trunks prior to winter weather.

Unwind approximately 6 inches of the tree wrap from the roll and begin wrapping the tree at the point where the tree meets the soil. If the tree trunk flares out at this point, cover the flared portion with the tree wrap.

Hold the tree wrap at a 45-degree angle to the tree trunk and wrap the tree wrap around the tree trunk again, overlapping the previous layer by half.

Continue wrapping the tree wrap all the way up the tree trunk, overlapping each wrap by half over the previous wrap layer.

Stop wrapping when you reach the first branch.

Cut a rubber band so it is a long, stretchy length of rubber. Wrap the cut rubber band around the top of the tree wrap three or four times tightly. Tuck the end of the rubber band under itself once or twice to finish securing the tree wrap.

Check your wrapping. Make sure the starting and ending points of the wrap are secure.


Gaps in the tree wrap are all right as long as the gap openings face down and not up. In this way, falling precipitation will not enter the gaps. You should remove winter wrap in the spring; however, if you do not remove it, the tree wrap will eventually wear away from the tree trunk. Many fruit trees are susceptible to sunscald.

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