Asked on Nov 13, 2016

Can you spray paint a living tree?

Mary Radich
by Mary Radich
Can you spray paint a living tree?
  9 answers
  • William William on Nov 14, 2016
    It more likely will kill the tree.
  • MJLstr MJLstr on Nov 15, 2016
    If you mean "living" as in potted, growing tree, then no spray painting it will kill it over time. If you mean "living" as a cut, previously alive tree, then I see no harm done. I would encourage postponing until shortly before the holiday and continuing to make sure the trunk is in water or well-watered sand.
  • Mary Radich Mary Radich on Nov 15, 2016
    Wow we'll mark that down as a stupid idea.
  • Kaye Hawthorne Kaye Hawthorne on Dec 13, 2016

    Florist use a special spray paint for flowers when a odd color is required, check with your florist or a nursery they may be able to direct you to the appropriate paint if one is available for your project.

  • Kaye Hawthorne Kaye Hawthorne on Dec 13, 2016

    You're welcome! I know thone spray paints come in all colors so if you can spray floral's then don't see why you can't spray and decorate your tree with them.

    have fun and let us know what you find out.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  • Kaye Hawthorne Kaye Hawthorne on Dec 13, 2016

    lol ... hate spell check! Type a word in and it just changes it to whatever.

    Thone is those

    • Mary Radich Mary Radich on Dec 13, 2016

      I found floral spray on Amazon. Comments revealed people using it on alive outdoor plants.Merry Christmas.Thanks again!

  • Lisa Lisa on Jan 13, 2020

    Absolutely not. Spray paint and other oil based paints can cause severe damage or death to a tree for three reasons:

    Paint can clog the lenticels, which are small openings which allow release of CO2 and absortion of O2 in respiration.

    Non porous paint may interfere with photo receptors embedded in the stems, which nullifies the tree's ability to sense changes in light quality, intensity and duration, factors which help trees grow in spring and lose their leaves in preparation for winter cold.

    Bark and cambium layers can be damaged if a tree absorbs paint chemicals present in oil-based paints.

    • Christopher Gray Christopher Gray on Feb 08, 2022

      Wrong. Well I mean you're right for the most part but not completely. It is in fact completely safe to paint trees with white interior grade latex paint. In fact, most people spray their fruit trees to protect them in the winter or if they're just young trees

  • Mary Radich Mary Radich on Jan 14, 2020

    Thank you for the information. I don’t what I was thinking spraying poison on a living plant. I’ve long since given up on that idea, I appreciate your concise answer,

  • Christopher Gray Christopher Gray on Feb 08, 2022

    Tree guard paints are sold as organic and non-organic products. Some gardeners use a light-colored interior latex-based paint diluted with 50% water.

    Both sunburn and sun scald can cause the tree's bark to crack or die, resulting in additional stress which is compounded by insects and parasites that enter the barkless wood, an invasion that will ultimately shorten the tree's life. Tree paint or whitewash protects against this.[2]

    Some tree paints, depending on ingredients, also protect against insects and rodents. For example, neem oil has been used by Indian farmers for thousands of years, for many uses, including as a natural insect repellent and insecticide. Plants sprayed with diluted neem oil repel insects, and smothers those who come into contact with it, ultimately killing most insects that ingest the product within 1–3 days.

    Castor oil, derived from the castor tree seed, gives a coated surface an unpleasant taste to rodents, such as rats, moles, voles, gophers and rabbits that may otherwise gnaw on the tree's bark.[3]

    Tree paint may help to prevent disease-carrying insects from entering a wounded tree.[4] Studies have shown that wound dressing must be applied immediately after damage or pruning. Even a delay of three days can be too long.[1]

    White tree paint is commonly applied to citrus trees to keep the affected tissues from overheating, as dark-colored paint can raise the surface temperature of the treated tissues. The classic tree paint is black, because it is based on an asphalt emulsion.

    Consumer versions of tree paint may come in spray cans, commercial application may involve paint guns. Tree paint can also applied by brush.

    An organic tree paint can be made; it is similar to a brushable mud.