Friday, September 13, 2013

Exfoliating Bark

Exfoliation is a popular term in skin care. Trees do it, too. Among the trees in my garden that exfoliate are Crape Myrtles, Eastern Red Cedars, and Loropetalums. Birches do it, Maples do it, all kinds of trees do it.

 Natchez Crape Myrtle exfoliates light colored bark to reveal cinnamon color bark underneath.


Other Crape myrtles in my garden have exfoliating bark but the underneath is light colored.

Various theories expressed as to the reasons besides the bark getting too small for the tree include increased transpiration of water in a wet summer like we just had and a method of getting rid of parasites, fungi, and mosses and lichens. This last theory is illustrated in the above photo. Young Crapes sometimes have heavy growths of lichen, shed with the exfoliating bark.

These last two below are exfoliating bark of Loropetalums. They look as though they just outgrew their bark.


Looking at these pictures remind me of the Victorians describing arms and legs as 'limbs.' Have you noticed exfoliating bark in your garden?


  1. I have a paperbark maple, that I just love the bark on. And I just bought a Eucalyptus, which is still a baby, but will eventually have beautiful mottled bark. Here on the West Coast we have a lot of garden-worthy Manzanitas that have mahogany peely bark. I didn't realize that Crape Myrtles had exfoliating bark till last summer when I saw one in a garden. They're such gorgeous trees!

  2. such a crazy tree, wow I haven't seen one like that that has that color underneath when the top is shed, so cool and I love the photography, such a pro at that...Phyllis


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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