A strange phenomenon that you see in all the villages of Crete is the white painting of the tree trunks.
The painting of tree trunks is a practice very common in Greece and has its roots in ancient times. It is connected with the traditional architecture and people do it in the beginning of spring. Before Easter at the beginning of spring when the weather and the mood changes, the Cretans used to paint their houses to celebrate the most important religious Greek event. They paint also the dry stone walls, the curbs and of course, the trees.
The paint that people use is the lime.
Lime has disinfecting properties and many people believe that liming the trunks of fruit trees in spring protects them from woody insects and fungi. Despite its disinfecting properties, lime has no insecticidal or fungicidal action. For apple and pear trees, liming repels the female insects of Sesia myopiformis to lay it’s eggs in the trunk. For citrus trees and for trees whose bark is very thin, farmers use liming to protect them from sunburn. Some farmers also do so to prevent goats and sheep from eating the leaves and the bark of trees.
Today the liming of the trees in the settlements is just for aesthetical reasons.