Tree Notes is about trees -- especially native trees, trees for wildlife, and trees in history.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Twelve native trees with shaggy bark

Eight native deciduous trees and four native evergreens with exfoliating bark


Bark of Shagbark Hickory
Image: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Q. Why would anyone care what kind of bark a tree has?

A. Shaggy (exfoliating) bark adds interest and drama to the winter garden. It draws attention and entertains the eye when there are no leaves on the deciduous trees.

Of course, the bark is attractive at other times of the year as well. It's just more visible in the winter when there's less foliage in the landscape.

Compared to the climate, soil, water, drainage, and space requirements of the tree, the appearance of the bark is a secondary consideration. But when you've narrowed your choice to several trees that should work in your planting spot, then you might research the appearance of the bark.

Common names below are linked to the USDA Plants Database. Visit the linked site for more information about that tree.


Acer rubrum - Red Maple

Acer saccharinum - Silver Maple

Aesculus flava - Yellow Buckeye

Betula alleghaniensis Britt. - Yellow birch

Betula nigra - River birch

Betula papyrifera Marsh - Paper birch

Carya ovata - Shagbark Hickory

Juniperus virginiana - Eastern Redcedar

Picea sitchensis - Sitka Spruce

Platanus occidentalis - Sycamore (American Planetree)

Taxodium distichum - Common Baldcypress

Thuja occidentalis - Eastern Arborvitae

5 comments -- please add yours:

Carolyn Hietala said...

Eastern Red Cedar bark is used in my yard as nesting material for local critters and especially the squirrels. This week they have been regularly gathering strips for their winter home. Cardinals love roosting and nesting in cedar also. Same for the Dawn Redwood..... my favorite tree ;0) Thanks for bringing attention to some easily overlooked choices.

Genevieve said...

Mockingbirds are also fond of nesting in redcedar trees -- or any sort of a tree that's prickly.

Collagemama said...

Hiked in a cedar brake yesterday with all the shaggy bark, then admired a prickly ash. I only know because the trees had ID tags, but the bark was intriguing.

Anonymous said...

I went survival camping this weekend and i had to find food i climbed the tree in hop of some kind of egg or animal and found nuts.
i then saw what kind of tree it was
shaggy bark hickory.
I had to boil them to make it taste good.
The shagginess of the bark was home to many bugs and sparrow nests
so i got eggs in the morning!
It was a really cool sight, the trees and now i know about them more.

Genevieve said...

Hmmm. I don't really think you're supposed to be raiding songbird nests and eating the eggs...

But I'm glad the hickory nuts worked out for you.

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Enrich your life with the study of trees.

"The power to recognize trees at a glance without examining their leaves or flowers or fruit as they are seen, for example, from the car-window during a railroad journey, can only be acquired by studying them as they grow under all possible conditions over wide areas of territory. Such an attainment may not have much practical value, but once acquired it gives to the possessor a good deal of pleasure which is denied to less fortunate travelers."

Charles Sprague Sargent (1841-1927)

Print references I frequently consult

Benvie, Sam. Encyclopedia of North American Trees. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2000.

Brockman, C. Frank. Trees of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Ed. Herbert S. Zim. New York: Golden, 1986.

Cliburn, Jerry, and Ginny Clomps. A Key to Missouri Trees in Winter: An Identification Guide. Conservation Commission of the State of Missouri, 1980.

Collingwood, G. H., Warren David Brush, and Devereux Butcher. Knowing Your Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1978.

Dirr, Michael. Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs: an Illustrated Encyclopedia. Portland, Or.: Timber, 1997.

Elias, Thomas S. The Complete Trees of North America; Field Guide and Natural History. New York: Book Division, Times Mirror Magazines, 1980.

Grimm, William Carey. The Book of Trees;. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1962.

Hightshoe, Gary L. Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America: a Planting Design Manual for Environmental Designers. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1988.

Little, Elbert L. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees. New York: Chanticleer, 1996.

Martin, Alexander C., Herbert S. Zim, and Arnold L. Nelson. American Wildlife and Plants. New York: McGraw Hill, 1951.

Mitchell, Alan F., and David More. The Trees of North America. New York, NY: Facts On File Publications, 1987.

Randall, Charles E. Enjoying Our Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1969.

Settergren, Carl D., and R. E. McDermott. Trees of Missouri. Columbia: University Extension, 1995.

Sternberg, Guy, and James W. Wilson. Native Trees for North American Landscapes: from the Atlantic to the Rockies. Portland: Timber, 2004.

Wharton, Mary E., and Roger W. Barbour. Trees and Shrubs of Kentucky. Lexington: University of Kentucky, 1973.

Wyman, Donald. Trees for American Gardens. New York: Macmillan, 1965.

Photos and text copyright © 2006-2010 by Genevieve L. Netz. All rights reserved. Do not republish without written permission. My e-mail address is gnetz51@gmail.com