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  • Writer's pictureAllison Deckard

Tips and Tricks for Tree Identification

Whether you are taking a hike in the woods or just admiring the landscaping at your house, wouldn’t it be fun to be able to share with other people what kind of trees are around you? With over 60,000 species of trees, it is hard to believe that each one is different in some shape, form, or fashion. Keep reading for some tips on what to look for when trying to identify trees.

The most common thing that people first look at when trying to identify trees are its leaves. A tree can have one of the following three types of leaves: needle, broad, or scaled. When looking at the tree's leaves, it is important to look at the shape, size, and texture of the leaf itself. Some leaves can actually be made up of leaflets which can also be used to help identify the type of tree. Oak trees are pretty easy to identify. Its leaves have a lob shape and can be round or pointy. If the leaf is round it is a White Oak, and if it is pointy, that means it is a Red Oak. Maple Trees are extremely easy to identify too. Its leaves are pointy and symmetrical, meaning if you fold it in half the sides should align perfectly. Pine trees have leaves that are needle shaped. They are very pointy and can produce sap, which is very sticky.

As mentioned before, the first thing people look at when identifying a tree is its leaves, but what happens when these trees lose their leaves in the fall and winter months? This is when we have to look at the bark on the trees to help us identify them. The bark on trees have so many different colors, textures, and can change with age. If the bark is smooth and unbroken, then that is an American Beech. The bark on a tree can also peel off, and this is common in sycamore, birch, as well as some maple trees. Some trees have ridges and furrows. A White Oak tree will have these ridge and furrows broken horizontally, while a Red Oak tree will have it vertically. Ash trees have these features, except it looks more blocky than the others.

Learning to identify trees can be a very exciting and interesting thing for all of the nature lovers out there. Learning the type of trees around you adds meaning to the landscape. If you just take the time, the amount of fascinating facts and stories that nature tells will surprise you.

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