(and not to imply i dont learn a lot from him)
on december 7 2009. we received, what i believe, was a 100 year storm here in diamond springs.
on that day we received over 12 inches of snow. not earth shattering, but here at 1900 foot elevation, and supposedly below the snowline - it was a bit much.
well, if you recall, we had some severe tree damage across our half acre.
we lost one full oak tree and another oak tree saw 3 of its major trunks (out of six) snap from the weight of the snow. a lesser, tree in the front yard also lost a limb. that tree is a japanese maple that had good symmetry and fall color. the tree was in a challenging place, as it had to endure full southern and western exposure.
not a good thing for a japanese maple, but she seemed to endure the heat ok; up until that point.
the limb was obviously weakly attached, and it snapped off and pretty much ruined the symmetry of the entire tree.
the point of this post is pretty much one-fold. take a look at the photo and you will see severe bark defoliation as a result of sunburn on the trunk, just below the location the branch was broken from. prior to breaking off that limb offered enough canopy cover to shade the trunk from the sun.
having listened to the farmer fred (kfbk and kste garden guy on sundays 8:30 -12) for years and hearing the pro's, cons and arguments about the merits of white washing the trunk of a tree to reduce sun burn - and just recently hearing his talk with annalisa stewart, who maintains white washing isnt proven to do anything but paint a tree white - i believe there is sufficient anecdotal evidence to suggest that whitewashing is probably worth the effort.
i would bet there would be an even chance that sunburn would not be as severe. i even offer, if sunscreen is proven to reduce skin sun damage, why wouldnt the same logic flow on trees. paint or sun screen, offers a thin layer to which the rays of the sun hit first, reducing damage to whats underneath. seems logical, but at best - all i have is anecdotal evidence.
one downside, i wouldnt like to have a whitewashed trunk in my front yard. in addition, the lack of symmetry probably will result in the tree getting pulled. it is a focal point in my yard and the way she looks now, is not helpful. i was hoping the tree would push another limb and recover, worst case, i dig it up and plant it in the backyard.
to paint or not to paint - well, i'm thinking i'm back in the painting camp with farmer fred.