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The beauty of winter trees

Ashland winters always take us down to the bare bones structure of private and public gardens and larger landscapes. Indeed, the winter gardenscape is predominately about structure, definition and depth. The wonderful light during winter months brings defining shadows, accentuating both the beauty and form of our trees. For the first time in many months, the trees authentic branching structure is honestly revealed and on display throughout our town. Fruit, seed pods, flowers, bark colors and patterns are suddenly highlighted during these cold months, making the trees that we plant and care for more valuable and important for aesthetic appeal.

A tree &

naturalizes&

a landscape, and it&

s architectural display is ever changing. A tree growing vitally over years can be seen as a dynamic living art piece; a display unmatched by human imitation. Indeed, wood as a natural material is one of the best choices for structures and surfaces in our built environment.

In some gardens, tree leaves are left unraked, to mulch the drip lines beneath, eventually breaking down to add soil nutrients back into the soil. They add color and texture to pathways and understory beds. This fall leaf drop also provides important protection to the root zone of the trees, and the leaves eventually decompose, to provide nutrients to the trees above.

Some of the many trees that have attractive winter appearance include:

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149; Acer griseum (Paperbark Maple), recognized for its cinnamon-brown, peeling bark

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149; Acer davidii (Snakebark Maple), known for its green bark with vertical white stripes

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149; Arbutus menziesii (Madrona tree) is both evergreen and displays beautiful red-brown peeling bark

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149; Sorbus aucuparia (Rowan or Mountain Ash), prized for its heavy clusters of red-orange berries hanging on through winter

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149; Malus (Flowering Crabapples), many have persistent fruit of orange red or yellow brightening the winter months

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149; Styrax japonica (Japanese Snowbell) showcases delicate, green, berry-like fruit

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149; Hamamelis x intermedia (Witchhazel) is a large shrub or small tree which showcases fragrant bright colored flowers on bare twigs in winter

For additional emphasis on your trees, night lighting can add to the ambiance of your gardens.

Don&

t forget that careful pruning at the appropriate time of year can enhance the beauty and health of your winter tree display.