Use Tree Textures to Add Beauty to Your Landscape

Landscaping isn’t only about size or colors of your plants, it’s also important to consider unexpected textures on the bark and leaves of your tree. In this article, you will find information on how to add beauty to your landscape by paying attention to textures on your tree. This information is sourced from The Homeowner’s Complete Tree & Shrub Handbook. 

The Beauty of Bark

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I’m a sucker for bark. I go wobbly at the sight of a mature paperbark maple, a shagbark hickory makes me drool, and my jaw drops when I see a Pacific madrone. What is it about bark that excites us? Bark is always there, hiding just below the leaves, ready to reveal its beauty if I take the time to look.

Bark is a tree’s protective coat. Some bark looks decorative year round you can always see the arced plates of shagbark hickory, the ginger curls of paperbark maple, and the peely white skin of paper birch. But other barks reveal themselves best when trees or shrubs are bare. an example, the yellow-twig ash. Once those fabulous lemon-yellow autumn leaves fall to the ground, you can see butter-yellow young stems contrasting with the round black velvet leaf buds.

My favorite trees with colorful bark, however, are the strip bark maples – brilliant coral-stemmed moosewood and red snake bark maple. Moosewood’s gleaming red and white striped stems glow in a snowy winter landscape, while the bark of red snake bark maple has vertical strips in white and olive grey green with red shoots.

Red willow and shrubby dogwoods also come into their own after leaf drop. Native red-osier dogwood has red young stems in the winter. The cultivar “Cardinal” has brighter stems and more disease resistance than other popular varieties. Yellow-twig dogwood produces disease resistant, school bus yellow stems. Midwinter fire has flamelike stems of red orange and yellow. Remember new stem growth is the most colorful, so cut these shrubs to the base each spring or you’ll end up with dull bark.

Just as landscape texture refers to a tree’s visual nature, it may . also pertain to the sense of touch. Smooth, muscled beach bark thus differs by sight and touch from rough, plated bark of old sugar maples.

Evergreen Textures

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Now that we’ve talked about the bark of trees, let’s take a look at some of the other textures of trees that draw us in.

Textures effect our two senses of vision and touch. Coarse textured shrubs and trees have large leaves that create bold patterns of light and shade on a plant’s surface. Course plants leap forward in a landscape. On the other hand, trees and shrubs with fine-textured foliage have little contrast between light and dark. Their even surface can more easily fades into the background. Planting bold textured shrubs such as Oregon grape holly at teh back of a garden, makes it feel smaller while planting fine-textured plants like yew or pine enlarges the space.

To find additional information on landscaping, please visit our article on to properly landscape your yard by incorporating trees!

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