Deciduous Trees are boring in winter? Not!

Firstly deciduous trees are the ones that lose their leaves in winter, apart from the conifers that are deciduous, the one that doesn't when clipped, those that hold their leaves into winter and any that are marcescent (hold onto their withered leaves through winter, such as the odd Oak tree).

I will only deal with deciduous trees, that are deciduous in the normal way.

These trees can be surprisingly attractive when naked, without leaves.

My personal favourite is Beech, Fagus sylvatica  or the purple version purpurea, when as an individual specimen, viewed against a sky. The way the branches continue to divide until at the edges of the canopy;  they almost disappear into the sky, I find bewitching and beguiling.

I appreciate if you are looking for  specimen to plant in a garden, a mature Beech tree will be too large (for most gardens) and you will have to plant it for your grand children to fully enjoy.

Trees which are more accessible are:

Winter flowering Cherries (pink and white flowers), on a winters day, this tree will be the only one in flower, it flowers intermittently (half heartedly) from November. Although it's flowers are nothing compared to other cherries in spring, their scarcity in winter is welcome.

There is a group of trees with interesting barks:

Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica) - this has mottled bark (like a London Plane, but smaller platelets) with tan, cream and grey bark. Also has great autumn colours and interesting flowers.

Tibetan Cherry (Prunus serrula) - a mahogany shiny brown bark, but underwhelming flowers, it seems to have placed all its energy in it's stunning bark.

Prunus maackii Amber Beauty - with amber coloured glossy bark, better white flowers than the Tibetan Cherry and better leaves on a conical canopy.

Birches - There are many that have white bark( Silver Birch / Betula pendula, Himalayan Birch / Betula utilis var Jacquemontii (very white bark, for the sake of brevity this ignores the varieties bred for an even whiter bark),  Chinese Birch/Betula albonsensis ' Fascination' ( white with a hint of salmon pink bark), Paper Birch ( Betula  papyrifera, peeling white bark). Erman's Birch (Betula Ermanii - yellowish white, turning brownish yellow after peeling)

Snakebark Maples (Acer capillipes, Acer davidii, Acer pensylvanicum, Acer refinerve, a group of trees with vertical stripes in their trunks.

I will ignore Eucalypts, as mature specimens their stability in the UK is not good, they grow too fast in the UK, often needing regular management to control size. They can however make excellent small coppiced / trimmed specimens.

One tree often overlooked is the Cork Oak, Quercus suber.

Beech & Hornbeam (Fagus & Carpinus) have smooth grey bark.

Apologies to any trees I have omitted (the above are trees suited to the UK only), if you are offended / want to correct me please send a direct message to @yourtalkingtree and your message will be responded to with arboreal love.

When choosing trees for their bark, see if you can get them as multistemmed specimens (more trunks), if you can plant them in odd numbered groups to accentuate their trunk colour. With lighter coloured trunks, plant them to draw the eye to accentuate distance.  

In addition to bark, there are fruits (catkins, seed pods...)  that can also provide interest.