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Tree bark can vary greatly throughout the life of a tree, generally becoming rougher as a tree ages. To see what younger bark looks like, just look up at the branches of an older tree. Below are examples of just a few of the many different bark types.
Beech bark stays smooth its entire life, as can be seen on this older tree.
Smooth and gray when young, shagbark hickory shreds its bark in long strips as it gets older.
Pitch pine has large plates.
Persimmon has small blocky plates and often looks like charcoal briquettes.
Tulip-poplar bark displays a pattern of interlacing ridges and furrows that form a diamond shaped pattern.
Yellow birch has a very fine shreddy bark that peels into small strips. Older trees eventually develop plates.