Discuss Detroit DISCUSS DETROIT! Trees and poles Previous Next
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Izzyindetroit
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Username: Izzyindetroit

Post Number: 194
Registered: 07-2008
Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 7:49 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Is there a purpose or reason why people paint them white up to 4 to 6 feet? I'm curious.
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Gazhekwe
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Username: Gazhekwe

Post Number: 2968
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 7:58 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The people we bought our first house from said they did it to make it look nice with the lawn furniture.
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Eriedearie
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Username: Eriedearie

Post Number: 3884
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 7:59 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Both of my grandpas used to do that and told me it was to keep ants from invading the trees. Our neighbor does it and said the same thing. He has healthy looking trees! :-)
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Thecarl
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Username: Thecarl

Post Number: 936
Registered: 04-2005
Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 8:11 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

people start painting them, then get lazy, or don't have a ladder, and their neighbor won't loan them one - so only the first four to six feet end up getting painted.
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Bobl
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Username: Bobl

Post Number: 644
Registered: 07-2008
Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 9:26 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I was told that trees were painted white for visibility so that people would not walk into them after dark.
That was years ago, when the streets were lit and the streetlights would be reflected on the white area of the tree.
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Gary
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Username: Gary

Post Number: 288
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 9:30 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Until now, I always thought it was done for asthetics. Guess you really do learn something new every day
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401don
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Username: 401don

Post Number: 951
Registered: 11-2007
Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 9:37 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Another hall of fame thread in the making. Gotta say I've never heard of this. Is this a Detroit city, metro or wider spread activity?
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Lodgedodger
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Username: Lodgedodger

Post Number: 1685
Registered: 05-2008
Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 9:39 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I believe the white "paint" is an insecticide. The old guy down our street used to paint his tree trunks and that was his reasoning. Mind you, a few years later they took him away for planning to blow up the neighborhood, yet until that time he was really knowledgeable about gardening.
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6nois
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Username: 6nois

Post Number: 825
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 9:44 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I've seen it all over and often wondered the same thing. Bay City, Saginaw, Flint, Detroit, mostly on older peoples houses (that in this context means 70+). My great grandpa told me about it repelling ants but I wasn't so sure, he was always telling me strange things though.
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Lodgedodger
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Username: Lodgedodger

Post Number: 1687
Registered: 05-2008
Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 9:54 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

6, did use Windex on all types of skin conditions? ;-)

Seriously, I think tree painting is an old-timer's remedy. Our neighborhood tree painting guy was a WWI vet.
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Eriedearie
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Username: Eriedearie

Post Number: 3885
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 10:16 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yep, grandpas were WWI vets. Neighbor a WWII vet. Grandpas lived in VA, WV and PA at one time. Neighbor in Metro Detroit, Ontario and California. So I don't think it's a regional thing.

The areas my grandpas were from in VA, WV and PA - all the men painted the tree trunks. In fact, the one grandpa called it white wash, not paint. I think it was mixed by combining lye and something else? I'm not real sure about it, but remember him saying that.

And they always had healthy looking trees, so they may have been onto something?
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Johnnny5
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Username: Johnnny5

Post Number: 728
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 10:26 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The paint deters insects from crawling from the ground. It also stops the sun from heating the bark in the winter which can cause a harmful freeze/thaw cycle.
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Gnome
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Username: Gnome

Post Number: 2505
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 - 5:35 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The guys that do the painting are usually Navy Men, sometimes Marines, usually Navy. The anal-retentive branch of the Armed Forces.
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Lilpup
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Username: Lilpup

Post Number: 5397
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 - 6:08 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It was also commonly done during WWII to help cope with the mandatory blackouts.
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Beech_cricker
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Username: Beech_cricker

Post Number: 79
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 - 7:15 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

This is NOT just a Detroit area or Michigan thing as I've seen such painted trees in Pennsylvania as well.
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Birdie
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Username: Birdie

Post Number: 139
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Sunday, March 22, 2009 - 9:19 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

i thought it was to protect trees from dutch elm disease.
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Penelopetheduck
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Username: Penelopetheduck

Post Number: 44
Registered: 09-2006
Posted on Sunday, March 22, 2009 - 10:25 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I always heard it was to protect against gypsy moths. When I was a young kid my family lived in connecticut during a horrifying gypsy moth infestation. I have a revulsion towards caterpillars to this day.
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Mkhopper
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Username: Mkhopper

Post Number: 18
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Monday, March 23, 2009 - 1:08 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Oddly, I had heard that the white paint kept squirrels from climbing the tree. Always thought that was ridiculous, and I never understood why anyone would care, but that's the story I got.

Way back when however, my grandfather used to wrap 2 foot wide sections of sheet metal around the trees near the house about 15' up to keep the raccoons from gaining access to the roof and chewing their way into the attic. Never seemed to stop them though as I recall...

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