How to Grow: Interesting Barked Trees

Listen to this podcast different deciduous trees with interesting bark for winter.


It’Cinnamon Maple, Bark, Log, Tree, Aesthetic, Branchess been a great fall, but the leaves have dropped and it’s “stick” season according to my neighbor. But those “sticks” don’t have to be uninspiring. There are many trees that have attractive bark making them focal points in your winter landscape. Choosing a new tree based on the bark color or texture certainly should be a considered since we look at many leaf-less trees for a good 6 months in Vermont. Here are some choices.

Birches are beautiful trees. Certainly white and paper birch have interesting bark, but the best is the River birch. It has tan to pink pealing bark and is a hardy tree in our area. Another tough small tree is the Peking or Chinese tree lilac. This zone 4 tree features the creamy white summer flowers of the Japanese tree lilac, but has bronze colored pealing bark in winter.

If you live in zone 5 parts of the state, the options expand. One of my favorite trees is the Dawn Redwood. It looks like a redwood, but is deciduous, dropping its needles in fall like a larch tree. As it ages it has the classic red and brown streaked bark reminiscent of the California redwoods. A small, attractive tree our neighbor has is the Seven Sons tree. It features clusters of fragrant white flowers in late summer and exfoliating brown bark with some green colored inner bark in winter. The Paperbark Maple is a solid zone 5 tree with cinnamon colored, pealing bark that truly stands out in winter.

When selecting any tree, check the ultimate size and growth rates to be sure they’ll fit in the location you want. Marginally hardy trees should be planted in a microclimate location where they’re protected from the cold North and West winds and snow in winter.

Excerpted from the Vermont Garden Journal on Vermont Public Radio.