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Identify that Tree

Learning to identify trees can help in understanding and appreciating the various characteristics of wood from that in your barn door to your beautiful hardwood floors. Tree identification done in the field where you can take note of the habitat and surrounding vegetation as well as the tree bark, leaf, and fruit is easier than relying on memory. You may want to consider investing in a pocketsize field guide in either traditional book format or the electronic versions available as an app for your mobile phone, or iPad. Once you become familiar with certain characteristics, you can identify trees by their bark coloration and texture as well as by leaf and fruit types. Identifying a tree by either the common or the scientific name is possible once the name is known. However, unless they are part of a botanical garden, it is unlikely you will find a nametag on a tree you wish to identify.

Identify by Leaf

Learning to identify trees by leaf characteristics is perhaps the easiest. Though there is a wide range of leaf types, once you learn to pay attention to the basic characteristics, it is easy to begin identifying the various classes of trees found throughout this country and around the world. When you begin examining leaves on a tree in an effort to identify the tree you are investigating, pay close attention to these features. Is the leaf needle-shaped or broad? What is the leaf arrangement on the stem? Are the edges of the leaves smooth, rippled, or saw-toothed? Are the leaves large or small? Would you describe the leaves as shaped like a lance, elliptic, heart-shaped, round, or oval? What is the pattern of the leaves on the stem? Most leaves follow three common patterns. They are opposite each other on the stem, alternate along each side of the stem, or are whorled with two or more leaves opposite another two or more leaves. Needle-shaped leaves are usually found on conifers or softwood trees such as pines and cedars while broad leaf types are on hardwood or fruit trees.

Identify by Fruit

While knowing the type of fruit each tree produces is helpful in tree identification, fruit, seeds, pods, or cones are not always present. Still, when there is fruit present on a tree, it is easier to identify. While the term fruit may bring to mind images of apples, oranges, or pears, there are other types of seed-bearing fruit on trees that may be either edible or non-edible. All seed bearing types are useful in tree identification. Pods, nuts, cones, or some types of fruit you may not have immediately considered. Other fruit include fleshy drup (cherries), samara, or winged seed such as elm or ash, bur-covered nuts such as is found in beech trees, and other multi-fruit arrangements in berry-like clusters. Learning to identify the various types of fruit and the reproductive characteristics of trees can help identify the tree species. The species will be part of the scientific name of the tree and when you have access to the name of a tree, you can begin to identify the best purpose, use, or application for the wood or fruit from a particular tree.

Identify by Name

Attempting to identify a tree simply by its name is not as easy as it may seem. All trees have both common and scientific names. Scientific names are the Latin names scientists give any living thing including trees. The scientific names consist of the genus and the species. These two-part Latin names never change and foresters, scientists, and botanists worldwide can identify a tree from its scientific name in any language. A tree may have a common name in one region of the country and another common name is other regions of the country. For example, the scientific name for a sweetgum tree is Liquidambar styraciflua. The common sweetgum tree may also be called a star-leaf gum, bilsted, alligator-wood, gum maple, sapgum, or redgum. With over 12-thousand species of trees in the United States, the list of common names for these trees can seem endless! Still, learning to identify trees is a pastime many enjoy. There are many resources available in traditional print and online to help you get started. Your local forest extension service is a valuable resource and they may recommend literature or even conduct field trips to identify trees in your area.

from Alans Factory Outlet Barns and Sheds.

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DateArticle TitleSource
Jul 2013  Ornamental Grasses  Minter Gardens 
Feb 2013  Strawberries  Minter Gardens 
Oct 2012  Winterizing your Garden  Minter Gardens 
Oct 2012  Identify that Tree   
Sep 2012  Prepare your home properly for the cold weather 
Aug 2012  Moisture Stress  Minter Gardens 
Jul 2012  Hydrangeas about to steal the show  Minter Gardens 
Jun 2012  Do what you can to save the honey bee 
May 2012  Hanging Basket Care  Minter Gardens 
May 2012  Gardening tip for clay or sandy soil 
May 2012  Plant a designer garden without the designer prices 
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Mar 2012  Sustainable Gardening   
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Jan 2012  Winter Flowering Shrubs  Minter Gardens 
Dec 2011  Twelve great plants for Christmas  Minter Gardens 
Nov 2011  Christmas Rose  Minter Gardens 
Nov 2011  Christmas Cactus  Minter Gardens 
Nov 2011  Minor Blubs  Minter Gardens 
Oct 2011  Fall Foliage Colour  Minter Gardens 
Sep 2011  Little Bulbs  Minter Gardens 
Aug 2011  Growing's not over, there's fall, winter  Minter Gardens 
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