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Expert gardener shares the surprising reason he coats his trees in paint: 'This is an extremely common practice'

"Citrus, avocados, cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, and more will all benefit from this practice."

"Citrus, avocados, cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, and more will all benefit from this practice."

Photo Credit: TikTok

From Supergoop to La Roche-Posay, sunscreen has been all the rage, but did you know trees might need sun protection, too? One gardener took to TikTok to show us the unconventional way he keeps his trees safe in the sun. 

The scoop

Epic Gardening (@epicgardening) is a prolific TikTok homesteader with nearly 3 million followers. His bio reads, "Mission: Teach the world to grow," and he has done just that, showing us all kinds of tips, from helping seedlings thrive to putting your weeds to use. 

In a post from February 2024, Epic Gardening shared how and why he paints his trees, noting, "This seems insane." In the video, he starts by saying, "I paint all of my fruit trees." 

He goes on to show evidence of sunburn on his avocado tree, saying damage like that "forces the tree to spend time and energy healing instead of growing."


PAINTING TREES - This seems insane, but it's improved the health of our young fruit trees in the Epic Orchard immeasurably as we've planted 40+ fruit trees. Before we get into this, we use an all organic "paint" which isn't really a true paint at all, it's from our friend Charles at IV Organics (not sponsored). Trees can suffer from sunburn much like you can, and this damage affects the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients from the roots to the leaves. Imagine if you lost a few blood vessels in your legs - they'd work, but not as well as before! Sunburn damage also opens up the tree's tissues, making it more attractive to pests like borers, etc. So, when to paint? Ideally when you plant. Get the main trunk and any major branches, taking extra care to coat the sides with southern exposure the most as they'll get the most sun. Citrus, avocados, cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, and more will all benefits from this practice. And the paint in this case is quite breathable.

♬ original sound - Epic Gardening

By painting the trees with a special organic paint, he protects his trees from pests and sunburn. In the caption, he notes: "Citrus, avocados, cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, and more will all benefit from this practice." 

How it's helping

Gardening is a healthy way to connect with nature while saving time and money with fewer trips to the store and more trips to your yard. With a little bit of an investment, home gardeners can grow around $600 worth of produce a year. 

The mass-produced agriculture system has made us disconnected from our food. Many fruits and vegetables are traveling thousands of miles to reach your plate.

Carbon Brief reported that countries like the U.S. have an outsized impact, noting that "while 'high-income nations' represent only about 12.5% of the world's population, they are responsible for 52% of international food miles and 46% of the associated emissions."

Gardening has been on the rise recently, as the COVID-19 pandemic kept people home and looking for ways to spend their time. Additionally, inflation has made the cost-saving of growing your own food even more attractive. 

What everyone's saying

Commenters were very interested in this surprising garden hack. One person said, "My grandfather used to do this to all our citrus and avocado trees, I used to think it was so weird lol."

Another commenter chimed in with: "This is an extremely common practice in Greece! Almost every tree has this paint on them because it gets so sunny there."

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