How To Identify Trees: A Brief Guide

how to identify trees

Learning how to identify trees makes it much easier to manage your landlike a pro. In this article, Country Trees LLC, your preferred tree service contractor in Angleton, TX, gives you tips on how to recognize different tree species. 

Check the Leaf Type

Identifying trees starts with looking at the leaves. Leaves fall into three main categories: 

  • Needles: You’ll find needles on pine trees and other evergreens. 
  • Scales: These look more like buds than leaves and are common with evergreens. These leaves store nutrients rather than creating them through photosynthesis. 
  • Broadleaf: These are leaves common with broadleaf trees like the silver maple and oak tree. These are more likely in deciduous trees but can occur with others as well. 

Check the Leaf Shape

The next lesson on how to identify trees starts with identifying the shape of the leaf. Common shapes include the following: 

  • Ovate leaves are shaped like an egg.
  • Lanceolate leaves are long and narrow.
  • Deltoid leaves are triangular.
  • Cordate leaves are heart-shaped.
  • Orbicular leaves are rounded.
  • Other shapes include palm-shaped and lobed. 

Check the Color and Texture of the Bark

Tree bark comes in various colors and shades. Is it pure white like a birch tree or copper like a paperbark maple? Understanding the nuances of color is one of the top tips for identifying a tree. 

The texture also tells you a lot about the tree species. Is it:

  • Furrowed like a cottonwood?
  • Warty like a hackberry?
  • Scaly like a sycamore?
  • Peeling like a hickory?
  • Smooth like a beech?
  • Shiny like a cherry?
  • Papery like a birch?

Check the Fruit Type

Apples, pears, and oranges make trees easy to identify. However, there are many other types of fruit, like winged fruits, acorns, berries, and nuts. The fruit gives you valuable insight into the type of tree. 

Check the Size and Location

While it’s possible for trees to grow outside their natural habitat, they won’t usually thrive without care. If your tree is thriving, look at where and how big it is. Dogwoods seldom grow 60 feet tall, but oaks do.

Willows grow near water, and you won’t see a papaya tree because they don’t grow here in Texas. 

Check the Flowers

Many trees have flowers that make them quite distinctive. Check the shape of the flowers rather than the color, as new cultivars may come in unusual colors. The time that the blossoms start appearing is another identifying factor. 

Also, look at how the blooms attach to the tree. Are they single, in clusters, or bunches of hanging spikes? 

Check the Seeds

The leaves can sometimes change even in the same species, so seeds are a better guide as to species. Oak trees, for example, have very distinctive acorns. 

Put All the Information Together

Now head over to your local library or the internet and do some research. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees is an excellent place to start. You can find a lot of information in this publication and elsewhere online. 

Next, check trees common in the area and see if any match most of the items you checked. If possible, look for photos to confirm your identification. 

Call the Professionals for Quick Advice

If these tips on how to identify trees don’t narrow things down, we recommend researching the stages of tree growth. Alternatively, contact Country Trees LLC to schedule a visit from a professional arborist for a definitive answer. 

Our certified experts can not only help you identify the species but also explain how to keep your trees in optimal condition. Call us today at (979) 824-0325.

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