What trees have white bark?” you might wonder. Look no further because today, we’re curating a detailed guide to some of the most common and beautiful white bark trees that will look good in just about any setting.

Trees Have White Bark for Gardens 

The light bark of these trees truly comes alive when set against the typical green hues of a common garden setting. If you want to learn more about these majestic trees, keep reading. 

A List of Different Trees That Have Beautiful White Bark

1. Silver Birch Tree

Silver Birch Tree known as Betula pendula

  • White bark with yellow-green leaves on branches 
  • Branches grow both upward and downward 
  • Can grow up to 98 feet tall
  • Damp and rich soil 
  • Should have access to ample light 
  • Silver bark trees can flourish in cooler temperatures 
Common pests
  • Borers
  • Leaf miners
  • Aphids

When it comes to white bark trees, birch is one that generates interest throughout the year. Planting this silver birch (Betula pendula) is easy to include in a landscape design. Nearly all temperate regions of Asia and Europe are home to it. This birch tree prefers to be scattered throughout conifers and along the edges of old-growth woods.

The tree is a pioneer species, just like empress trees and Himalayan birches, which means it can grow in places where other trees and plants cannot. Pioneer plants adapt well to a garden setting because they can thrive in various soil, moisture, and environmental conditions.

After its leaves have fallen, the pendula trunk’s weeping appearance with its stark white bark catches your attention. In the spring, the tree’s pale yellow catkins droop against its emerald-green leaves. Eventually, these green leaves turn bright yellow in the fall, contrasting with the eye-catching bark. 

The year-round aesthetic appeal of this birch tree makes the effort and irrigation required to grow one worthwhile. The soil around this birch tree should always be damp. If the area is not sufficiently moist and there is no watering system accessible, think about using a soaker hose to simulate the moist, snow-covered, or damp forest floors of northern Europe. 

When planting this white bark tree, Pennsylvania residents, but also gardeners from other states, should consider light to appreciate the birches’ dazzling golden leaves to their fullest. Sand that is moist and well-drained is preferred for pendula. 

2. River Birch

River Birch multi-stemmed deciduous shade tree

  • White-brown bark 
  • Green leaves on upward-growing branches 
  • Can grow up to 80 feet tall
  • Needs a good amount of sunlight 
  • Requires moist, acidic soil 
  • Drought tolerant but needs moisture for optimal growth 
Common pests
  • Aphids
  • Sawfly larvae

The river birch, or Betula nigra, is a rapidly expanding, typically multi-stemmed deciduous shade tree widely used in landscaping. Being more resilient to poorly drained soils and hotter climates than other birch species, it is one of the most adaptable. It has the lovely exfoliating bark that is the distinguishing feature of many birches.

This birch is a tree with a rounded compact form and semi-arching branches native to the swamps and floodplains of the eastern United States. The white bark peels back to reveal layers inside that are salmon-red. The one to three-inch long, oval, medium to dark green leaves have serrated edges and are white on the underside. 

A river tree is often planted as a container-grown or balled-and-burlap plant in the spring or fall when the soil is wet and the temperatures are low. This tree grows quickly, adding an average of 36 inches to its height per year. Dwarf cultivars could develop more slowly, taking about ten years to reach 10 feet.

Whereas most trees struggle to develop, these birch trees do well in permanently wet soils. Despite this, the tree is surprisingly versatile and will thrive in drier environments. It prefers somewhat acidic soil. Too high pH levels can lead to iron chlorosis and yellowing foliage. 

Plant these white birch trees in areas that receive full sun to partial shade. Some people might want to pair this with the maple tree with white bark (Chalk maple).

3. Quaking Aspen

Quaking Aspen Appearance 

  • White-silver bark 
  • Yellow leaves on upward-growing branches 
  • 20 to 80 feet tall 
  • Avoid watering the leaves, as they can rot 
  • Needs access to a good amount of sunlight 
  • Grows best in sandy, gravelly spots 
Common pests
  • Aspen leaf miners
  • Sawflies
  • Aphids

Populus tremuloides is a tree that can be commonly found in the United States. Its name refers to the movement of leaves that tremble under the wind. This tree can grow up to 80 feet tall. 

This tree has smooth and pale bark that contrasts its leaves. Its green leaves will turn golden or yellow once fall arrives, and its foliage can even turn red in some cases. Its flowers are organized into mixed male and female catkins. 

It’s a tree that symbolizes the Rocky Mountain states. Due to its propensity to spread, aspen requires much attention unless you want a big aspen colony on your land. You should prune the trees and make sure to remove young root suckers from the ground to prevent your land from becoming dominated by this beautiful yet difficult-to-control species.

Grow aspen trees in full sun for optimal results, though they can take little shade. Aspen should have sufficient drainage as well. You can plant it in ordinary garden loam.

4. Pinus albicaulis

growing Pinus albicaulis at lower altitudes

  • Five-needled pine 
  • Rounded crown center 
  • Can grow up to 40 feet tall
  • Thrives in well-drained soils
  • Is drought-tolerant 
  • Needs a moist climate
Common pests
  • Mountain pine beetles
  • Blister rust fungi

This is a tree that you’ll find across the mountains in the west of the United States but also in Canada. It’s normally a tree that thrives at high elevations, yet some gardeners have succeeded in growing it at lower altitudes.

The tree can grow up to 30 or 40 feet tall, and its foliage can extend to almost 20 feet in width. It grows quite well in soils that are well-draining and acidic. It can tolerate droughts well, thanks to its developed root system. 

It requires full sun exposure, so it might not grow well in shaded areas. It does not require pruning.

Unfortunately, this tree is endangered in the wild due to pests such as mountain pine beetles and diseases such as blister rust that are caused by fungi. Wildfires also threaten forests of mountain pines, and a lot of focus is being redirected to rebuilding these ecosystems.

5. Japanese White Birch

Japanese White Birch grown in colder climates

  • Skinny and tall white bark trees
  • Not as full in terms of foliage 
  • Can grow about 30-40 feet tall
  • Full sun to partial shade is required
  • Best grown in colder climates 
Common pests
  • Japanese beetles
  • Aphids

The most recognizable trees with white bark are birch trees, and while we all immediately picture the silver birch or the paper bark birch, many other species each have their distinctive colors and textures. Japanese birch is one such tree.

As its name suggests, the Japanese birch is indigenous to Japan and remarkably resistant, flourishing in growth zones three to eight. It thrives in well-drained soil in a location that receives full sun during the day. Under ideal circumstances, it can grow up to 50 feet tall.

Consider the vegetation that will be encircling your tree when planting trees with white skin. Whitebark will almost always look good next to colors of bright red for some creative winter garden ideas.

This birch has also proven itself to be pest-resistant. The Japanese birch has demonstrated strong resistance to both the leaf miner and the white birch borer. 

Japanese white birch loves medium to wet, well-drained, loamy, sandy, or clay soils, as well as full sun to moderate shade. It thrives on soil that is consistently moist and in cool climates. Japanese white birch has poor tolerance to drought.

6. American Sycamore

American Sycamore needs extra care

  • Spaced out branches 
  • Upward growing branches
  • Can grow up to 75 to 100 feet tall 
  • Prone to pests, it needs extra care 
  • Give full sun for a few hours during the day 
  • Water during dry, hot periods 
Common pests
  • Sycamore lace bugs
  • Spider mites
  • Caterpillars

A big shade tree belonging to the Platanaceae family is the American sycamore. Platanus occidentalis (the plane tree) is a quickly expanding tree, native to Eastern North America, and is notable for its plate-like mottled bark and broad leaves, which change from dark green in the summer to orangey-brown in the fall.

Deep, wet, rich soils are excellent for sycamore tree growth. Late winter or early spring are the ideal times to plant one. They grow quickly and can easily withstand wind, rain, pollution, and even drought. The extensive, shallow roots of sycamore trees, which are generally huge, can cause damage to pavement, underground pipelines, and other things because of their size.

The sycamore is more tolerant of wet areas than most trees are since it naturally grows near streams. Additionally, it can endure some of the common air pollutants in cities. But if you plant one, ensure you have plenty of room to handle the tree’s eventual size.

When there is a protracted drought, make a plan to water your American tree and feed it in the spring. Pruning is typically not a difficult task. However, you must be cautious about infections and pests.

Continue to uniformly moisten the soil for optimal results. A mature sycamore can withstand some drought. Grow sycamore in full sun for optimal results, though they can take slight shade. The soil types and pH levels that sycamore trees can endure are diverse. It should be adequate to use an ordinary garden loam with decent drainage. 

7. Ghost Gum

Ghost Gum Requires well-drained soil

  • Super tall trees with sparse branches 
  • Slender and tall 
  • Can grow about 50 feet tall 
  • Requires well-drained soil 
  • Needs regular watering 
Common pests
  • Carpenter ants 
  • Bark beetles

Zones nine and 10 are warmer climates. Therefore the ghost gum is a perfect option if you live there. It is an extremely resilient plant that thrives in coastal regions. It is resistant to drought, pests, diseases, and other problems that could harm less hardy landscape trees.

The gum, an Australian native, is named for its remarkable white trunk, which gives the tree a ghostly aspect. This tree adds character to the garden in addition to its distinctive white bark.

Ghost trees may thrive in various environments and easily withstand droughts and other typical problems like deer browsing. When grown in friendly conditions, they have no significant insect or disease problems, and once established, they require very little routine maintenance. Ghost trees do have some advantages, but they are not without drawbacks.

Gum trees will thrive best in sandy and clay loam soil. Make sure to provide good watering to these trees as they need it. Part sun to full sun for a few hours every day is good enough for these trees, so choose a good location. 

8. White Poplar Tree

White Poplar Tree with white bark

  • Beautiful tree with white bark
  • It has thick and lush branches 
  • Can grow up to 60 to 100 feet tall 
  • Loves sunlight 
  • Thrives in well-draining, rich soil 
  • Needs regular waterings 
Common pests
  • Cottonwood borer
  • Poplar tentmakers
  • Oystershell scales

In their natural habitat, poplars (Populus alba) can be attractive trees that grow outside a garden. This tree quickly hybridizes with Populus tremula and easily disperses its seed in the wind, which can cause headaches to landscapists trying to contain its spread.

The tomentose underside of the leaves, coupled with the tree’s bark, give it its common name of “white poplar,” which lends the species some aesthetic worth. (Tomentose refers to a leaf with thick hair!) On the underside, the leaves appear to be white. In hilly locations near water, particularly those close to coastal areas that can experience erosion, it can be helpful as a deterrent.

Another reason horticulturalists sometimes do not advocate poplars is that caring for them can be difficult for those who own and maintain these enormous trees. This is all basic – the fundamentals of tree care remain the same and do not contribute to the problems. However, the species’ brittle wood, great size, brief lifespan, and enthusiasm to spread can cause considerable stress when it comes to maintenance and care. 

Once it reaches maturity, the poplar tree adapts to all water conditions and soil conditions. The poplar will tolerate some shade but prefers direct sunlight. Ecologists find the poplar particularly unsettling due to its capacity to grow in practically any place and adapt to various environmental factors.


These are some of the best white tree species to grow in your gardens for that beautiful majestic look.

These trees grow relatively easily with the proper care, but before planting one of them, remember:

  • If you’re looking for tall skinny trees with white bark, birch species are your best bet.
  • Aspens are great for those looking to plant trees with white leaves and bark.
  • Mountain pines are great additions to high-altitude landscapes.
  • American sycamore trees are great for urban landscaping.
  • White poplar trees are beautiful, but they can spread widely if not contained.

So, which of the trees from above are you looking forward to growing?

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