The trunks of newly planted small trees are often wrapped in cloth. Why?

Dear Tom,
The trunks of newly planted small trees are often wrapped in cloth. Why?
Ashley Ferguson, Chicago
Dear Ashley
The stems of freshly planted young trees must become acclimated to the sunlight conditions of their new environment. The gradual development of a heavy layer of bark on their stems is one way they accomplish this. Horticulturists tell us the tender stems of young transplanted trees are securely wrapped in a layer of cloth in order to prevent sun scald, which is injury to woody plants like trees that can result in local death of plant tissue and even to death of the entire tree. In summer, sun scald is due to the excessive action of the sun’s rays; in winter, by the great variation in temperature that can occur on the side of a tree trunk exposed to the sun in cold weather. Sun scald is exacerbated by long exposure to wind and dry air in combination with very low temperatures.

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