Like the page about Green’s store, I posed this as a question on social media. I said I remember seeing it on trees, but never asked why. Here are the replies:
Brenda Dee said:
I think it was to keep bugs off wasn’t it called White washing?
Kathleen Duhon said:
I think to look neat and clean. It was called white washing
Deborah Perdue said:
My Dad did this to our trees, it was lye paint. They also used it on outhouses. It was mainly for looks on our trees.
She added this:
I looked online and it said it was also to cracking and splitting of new bark. This would keep insects and fungus away. Still helps young fruit trees today.
Cathy Russell said:
My grandfather did it to his apple trees. It was to keep bugs from damaging the tree.
Mickey Vaughn Morris-Flynt said:
My 93 year old mother in law says it was paint mixed with lime to keep bugs away.