White-bark trees are one of the many ways to make your garden or landscaping interesting and pop out.
Many trees with white bark add a refreshing or bright element to the spaces they grow in. These kinds of trees are gorgeous layered with other trees and lots of flowers!
Despite their rare and exotic looks, most trees with white bark aren’t specialty trees and are easy to care for. Many of these are great shade trees and live for very long.
Because Texas USDA hardiness zones reach from 6 to 10, there’s a huge list of white bark trees that you could grow.
Here’s a short list of five trees to get you started!
5 White Bark Trees for Gorgeous Texas Gardens
1. American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)
The bark on Sycamore trees becomes thin and flakey and falls off in patches. Their bark is beige on top with a layer beneath that’s white or blush pink. Along with their pretty bark, American Sycamore trees have bright yellow fall foliage.
These trees typically have a straight trunk that forks one or more times, creating a spreading and open crown. Their spread plus height makes American Sycamores great shade trees!
American Sycamore trees are also very strong growers- they can tolerate high winds and extreme heat. However, because they grow so well is that they have a very strong root system- so keep these trees away from sidewalks or patios!
Other Common Names: Eastern Sycamore, American Plane Tree
Growing Zones: 4-9
Average Size at Maturity: 70-100 ft tall by 70-100 ft wide
Season: Flowers in Spring
2. Himalayan Birch (Betula utilis)
The bark of Himalayan Birch trees actually has two layers of color. As their bark hardens, it peels off in thin, bright orange pieces and shows the next layer of bark that’s completely white. You can see the white bark all along the trunk and branches.
Although, there are many varieties of these Birch trees that can grow in Texas and they have slightly different looks. For example, Betula utilis var. Jacquemontii Grayswood Ghost doesn’t have bark that peels. Instead, the bark on this tree is dark brown for its first couple years, then it begins to fade to bright white.
Himalayan Birch trees have deep, emerald green leaves that turn yellow in the fall. They’re also very easy-going trees that require little maintenance.
Himalayan Birch trees are drought resistant once they’re mature and can tolerate many kinds of soil. They’re considered deer-resistant and will help keep deer out of your space.
Other Common Names: Betula utilis var. Jacquemontii, Betula utilis var. Jacquemonti Doorenbos, Betula utilis var. Jacquemontii Grayswood Ghost, Betula albosinensis
Growing Zones: 3-8
Average Size at Maturity: 40-70 ft tall by 20-25 ft wide
Season: Flowers in Spring
Available at: Nature Hills
3. Aspen (Populus tremuloides)
The bark on these trees is smooth and doesn’t peel off. It’s white with dark brown ridges that form knots which look like “eyes.” Their leaves are light green in the summer, then turn a brilliant golden yellow in the fall.
We find forests, or “groves”, of Aspen trees rather than singular trees because they grow collectively in a cluster of trees. These trees aren’t very strong individually but they reproduce and grow quickly.
Aspen trees don’t live for very long and aren’t very disease resistant, but they have very strong roots that support new tree growth. This also means that their root system will overpower any concrete structures around it!
Other Common Names: American Aspen, Golden Aspen, Quaking Aspen, Alamo Blanco
Growing Zones: 2-8
Average Size at Maturity: 20-50 ft tall by 10-30 ft wide
Season: Flowers in Spring; Leaves in Fall
4. Lemon-scented Eucalyptus (Corymbia citriodora)
This tree gets its name from its citrus-scented leaves that are used for making citronella oil, often used in perfumes. Plus, Corymbia citriodora is an evergreen tree, so these fresh, fragrant leaves will stay on all year long!
The bark on these trees is white all over, from the trunk to the tips of all the branches. The bark is completely smooth, without any flakes or peeling skin. However, the bark is only white when the tree is young and as it ages it develops beige and brown patches.
These trees tend to be long-living and strong growers. They’re known to be deer resistant and generally low-maintenance trees.
In addition to their citrus leaves, these trees bloom with abundant, tiny white flowers in the winter. They’re small flowers that grow in large clusters, creating a beautiful accent to this tree’s amazing bark.
Other Common Names: Lemon-scented gum, Eucalyptus citriodora
Growing Zones: 8-11
Average Size at Maturity: 40-100 ft tall by 15-50 ft wide
Season: Flowers in Winter
5. Snow Gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora)
Snow Gum trees are incredible and very unique trees- not for standard landscaping! They’re very tropical trees so they’ll only grow well in southern and southeast Texas but if you live in a suitable climate, you should definitely give these a try!
The bark on Snow Gum trees has long stretches of white and brown or green patches. These stripes go up and down the tree’s trunk and branches, and twist along with the tree’s warps. The new branches on Snow Gum trees are reddish-brown and contrast sharply with the white stripes.
These trees are perfect for landscaping or ornamental gardens that are needing a bright pop. Snow Gum trees are medium-sized trees but they can also be pruned to stay smaller if that’s better for your space.
Snow Gum trees are drought tolerant and can handle a wide range of temperatures. They just need to be protected from strong winds and very low temperatures.
Other Common Names: White Sallee, Weeping gum, Ghost Gum, Swamp Gum
Growing Zones: 9-11
Average Size at Maturity: 12-50 ft tall by 12-50 ft wide
Season: Flowers in Spring
Bring on the Beautiful Bark
Planting a tree with white bark is a great way to diversify your ornamental garden! Trees with white bark have a really unique look and add beauty to your landscaping or garden in a different way than flowers do.
And this list is just the beginning of it! This is just an introduction to a handful of amazing white bark trees to consider. There are many other species that already grow or could grow in Texas.
With our diverse climates all in one state, there are lots of options for Texas growers! Check out Texas A&M’s Trees of Texas site to get lots more information about different trees in the state.
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Peyton considers trees not just as plants that provide shade or yummy fruits, but as necessary for a healthy life and community.
Peyton has done most of her research on environmental politics, but recently has shifted her focus towards actual agricultural practices, learning about ideas like agroforestry, food forests, and permaculture gardening.
She’s most often in the kitchen whipping something up, but otherwise can be found on long bike rides or doing research.