Friday, November 14, 2008

My Latest Little Mystery

The other day, the kids and I were walking from our apartment out to where the kids jump on their xiao che (school van) and where I catch either the 特6, 438, or 498 down to campus. I noticed that the trunks of the trees in our xiao qu had been painted white from the ground up to about three-four feet. (As an aside, when did all of this painting go on? This is China on a super small scale. You look away for a minute, and the trees have all been white washed. Or a new skyscraper has just been erected...)

This, by the way, is not an uncommon phenomenon. There are white-bottomed trees all over the place, from down in the hutongs to out by the Ming Tombs.

So, what's up with all of this painting? It certainly doesn't look good (at least not to these Western eyes). Assuming it's not aesthetics, when then is going on?

As an opening bet, Z posits that it has something to do with keeping insects (specifically, cicadas) off the trees.

~Steve

2 Comments:

At 11:27 PM, Blogger Macefamily said...

Hi guys, I have to agree with Z, usually people paint them to keep bugs off, also in cold regions paint or burlap is used to protect the bark from the cold. I'm not sure if it works or it is just one of those crazy old wives tales. Donna

*Also, when we kived in Fords I remember my old Greek neighbor, who painted hers, saying in Greece they painted the tree bottoms to help reflect moon light at night since most roads did not have street lights.* Of course this could be one of those old wives tales again. She had as many as my grandma.

 
At 9:14 AM, Blogger The Balla Family said...

Dear Donna,

I'm sure the answer lies somewhere in the midst of all of those. Thanks for your input.

Love,

Desi

 

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