By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Peeling bark can be very pretty. I have friends who don’t get the appeal, so to speak, and think any tree or shrub with exfoliating bark, as it’s known, looks diseased or messy.

It’s true that peeling bark can be a sign of injury – such as deer rutting when they rub their antlers against a tree, or when a tree is wounded by a weed whacker – the open bark can let diseases in. But I’m talking about trees with bark that peels naturally. That doesn’t hurt the tree, and includes native trees such as our graceful River Birch and the aptly named Paper Birch with bark that peels off in sheets.

Smart gardeners plant for multi-season interest; they think ahead to when the flowers won’t be in bloom and the leaves have dropped. In the stark emptiness of winter, take a look around your yard, and see if you might want to plant a tree with peeling bark, to give yourself something interesting to look at this time next year.