Blue Trees and Other Colors too?

Blue Trees? Red too? and White ones as well? What is it all about?
Blue trees on Flickr recently caught my attention…. and I as I searched for the who, what, why, and how, I found red trees and white ones too?

Seems tree painting is kind of a thing…and is done for a variety of reasons.
The Mt. Annan Botanical Gardens tree in Australia is painted Blue because it is dead and the painting is meant to draw attention and teach about how even dead, it is a vibrant place of life for other creatures and insects.

Blue Tree mt annan botanical gardens australia sydney
image by ozczecho

This red one is also dead and just the fancy of a creative homeowner. I personally really like the idea of painting trees. Singularly and artistically chosen for an interesting surprise in the landscape. What do you think?

red painted tree
Image found via

Apparently trees in both China and Mexico are regularly painted white on the bottom (possibly with Quicklime?)… Researching the why, I found reasons seem to mostly surround the health of the tree.  But most explanations seem to lose sight of actual science…Snails and slugs don’t like the lime, they are easier to see on the street, the white is done to protect from heat, somehow the white discourages insects…anyone have another theory to add? Or a Fact? But once again, I like the effect.

white trees in china
image found at

Purely for design effect (I think), trees in Kansas City’s Kauffman Memorial Garden were painted blue…apparently it washes away after a season.

kauffman memorial garden kansas city blue trees
image by chimphappyhour

I love the surprise, and how it makes an ordinary and perhaps overlooked landscape element suddenly much more interesting and perhaps even a destination….
Like this tree….located at Coordinates: 105.42001 W x 39.97533 N.  (which BTW is near Nederland, CO– home to lots of other interesting and off beat things).   I love the idea of going for a hike, compass in hand, on a hunt for a wild blue tree.

nederland CO blue tree
image by jenn.m

Anyone know of a good tree paint? …and if it is available in other colors…I have a stand of three large pines, that I think it would be fun to do a color study on…in shades of fuchsia…:)

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.


  1. keewee on April 23, 2009 at 9:19 am

    That is an interesting and unusual way to make a work of art out of a dead tree. I like them.

  2. Waxyhearts on April 23, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    I totally want to paint my trees purple!!!

  3. High Desert Diva on April 23, 2009 at 9:48 am

    My grandparents always had the bottoms of their trees painted white…to discourage insects. I haven’t seen that done in years!

    The colorfully painted trees are interesting. For dead trees I suppose it wouldn’t matter what kind of paint one would use. The living trees though….hmmm. I wonder if a sapling could be dyed through the roots…

  4. Ann Marie on April 23, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Wow! I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this before. I think idea is good for dead trees, but I worry about painting live ones…even if it wears off in one season.

    • rochelle on April 23, 2009 at 2:54 pm

      Ann- so glad to see you here…I keep thinking about you…and want to make sure my comments were ok (over there). I feel better now that you are here.

  5. Sprout on April 27, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    OK, never heard of this until I read your post a few days ago…what do I spy today while in Boston?!

  6. Christina on April 28, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Hi Rochelle – thanks for visiting! I’ll have to check out Deborah’s site. Your site design is really good by the way! And I love these painted trees. (There I go, overusing the word “love” like we learned not to do in class…lol)

  7. Liz on July 3, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    what kind of paint would you use on dead trees

    • The Editor on July 3, 2015 at 9:16 pm

      I would say just about any would work…. exterior….depends on how long you want it to last.

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