WSU Extension


Common Cultural : Sunscald
(revision date: 7/13/2015)

Sunscald is caused by environmental conditions. Foliage may become bleached, chlorotic or necrotic. The bark of trees can be susceptible to damage by strong sunlight. Newly planted trees or trunks and branches recently exposed by heavy pruning are most at risk. Brown patches may appear on damaged bark, or the bark may split and form canker-like patches. Damage usually occurs on the south-facing portions of the plant. Damaged tissue may be more susceptible to attack by disease- or decay-causing organisms.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Choose the right plant for the location. Some plants can tolerate more sun exposure than others.
  • Proper irrigation during hot weather can increase the plant's resistance to sunscald.
  • Provide partial shade with other plantings or move the plant to a less-sunny location.
  • Avoid planting next to south- or southwest-facing walls.
  • Wrap trunks of recently transplanted trees with a white or light-color bark-wrap in the fall, especially younger trees or ones with dark bark.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

None recommended

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Caption: Apple sunscald
Photo by: R.S. Byther
Caption: Camellia sunburn
Photo by: R.S. Byther
Caption: Dilute latex paint (50-50 paint- latex) on young cherry trunk
Photo by: M. Bush
Caption: Raspberry fruit discoloration due to sunburn
Photo by: M. Bush
Caption: Sunscald on horsechestnut
Photo by: R.S. Byther