Bark protects trees by acting as a waterproof layer - it helps prevent the loss of water through evaporation. Bark also creates a shield, or barrier, against insects that would like to eat the inner bark and other woody layers. And, like your winter coat, the layer of bark helps insulate the tree from dramatic temperature changes.
Each kind of tree has its very own pattern of bark. It might look similar to another species, but when you take a close look you will see that each tree is as unique as the members of your family.
The first thing you notice about tree bark is its texture: is it rough or is it smooth? If it’s rough, look closer to see whether it has deep furrows, platy scales, or long shaggy strips peeling off.
Find two different types of trees in your backyard or a local park. How is the bark of one tree different from the other? See how many differences you can list.
You can make a “bark collection” without hurting trees – just make bark rubbings or take photos of tree bark. To make a rubbing, hold a white piece of white paper against the tree trunk so that it won’t move. Then rub over the paper with the side of a crayon. Make sure you write the date and location of where you found the tree so you can find it again when it has leaves.
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