Barking Up the Right Tree

The beauty of unclothed deciduous trees includes one of their most overlooked but dramatic features: the bark. Especially in winter the many colors, textures and patterns of bark in selected species seem to take on a whole new beauty.

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Some evergreens can hold their own when it comes to bark. The lacebark pine (Pinus bungeana) sports shiny, dark green, stiff needles. This 30- to 50-foot specimen pine appears rounded in youth, but as it matures it becomes open, flat topped and handsome. The dramatic bark exfoliates to a variety of colors ranging from olive green to brown, gray and white. This unique lacy pattern offers visual appeal all year-round. The cones are two to three inches long and add winter interest. Hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 8.