Protective wraps may not be needed at planting time.
Young, thin-barked trees such as ash, maples, fruit trees and others may develop sunscald unless protected. Sunscald in the winter months occurs when the bark on the southwest side of a tree in warmed by the sun during the day, followed by a sudden plunge in temperatures that kills a portion of the bark.
Wraps around trees can also protect against rodent damage or injury by equipment. However, misused wraps can result in damage or tree death by girdling, disease, insects or excessive bark moisture.
The normal application of tree trunk wraps is from October to March for the first two growing seasons. Wraps should be removed each spring prior to spring growth.
Paper or cloth wraps allow the excess moisture to be released, but do not protect as well against mechanical or rodent damage. Plastic wraps provide better protection but if applied too tightly can cause girdling.
Wraps should be applied loosely from the base up to the first branch in an overlapping spiral. Periodically inspect the wraps for trunk damage and insects. Trees with twigs that shade the trunk should be left, if practical. Cut them back a few inches to encourage foliar cover. They can be removed after two years.