How to Identify a Tree

How to Identify a Tree

By Blog on May, 2 2022
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Did you know that there are about 23,000 different types of trees in the world? That’s an amazing number of species, and the diversity you’ll find when looking at trees is astonishing. What kinds of trees appeal to you? If you don’t know much about trees, we’ve got some tips for identifying trees that interest you.

Start with a leaf. You can also take pictures of the bark, canopy, fruit, or blooms, noting the tree’s size and any other identifying features, but the leaf is often the key to determining the type of tree. You can use Google lens to help identify a tree by the leaf, or check out the Abor Day Foundation’s “What Tree is That?” quiz that will help you determine the type of tree based on your location and the leaf’s characteristics.

Here are some terms you’ll need to know when you’re talking about leaves:

  • Node: This is where the leaf attaches to the twig.
  • Bud: This sits on the twig, at the node, at the base of the leaf.
  • Petiole: The stem-like part of the leaf, this connects to the twig at the node.
  • Leaf arrangement: Noticing whether the leaves are staggered, directly across from each other, or arranged in a spiral on the twig will help with identification.
  • Leaf shape: What does the margin or edge of the leaf look like? Is it smooth, toothed, or lobed? If it’s lobed, the indentations on the leaf are called sinuses.
  • Retention: This is a term for whether or not leaves drop in the fall. Evergreen or semi-evergreen trees retain their leaves, while the leaves of deciduous trees fall.

What if the leaves have already fallen? If no leaves are available, the next best way to identify a tree is by the bark. You can find step-by-step instructions on identifying trees by the bark on the Nature Conservancy’s website. If you’d prefer to simply answer some questions, try this tree bark identification key.

Of course, you can also learn about trees by talking to the experts at your local nursery garden center. If you find a tree that you’re interested in using in your landscaping, you’re likely to be able to find it at a garden center near your home. In Arizona, California, Texas, Nevada, or Florida, check out Moon Valley Nurseries. Moon Valley Nurseries started as a small neighborhood nursery garden center, and now has locations all across the West. We deliver and plant anything in our massive inventory, and because we grow our plants ourselves, we can give our customers the lowest prices in town, guaranteed. Whether you need ground cover, a tree or two, or an entire landscape, our friendly staff members will go the extra mile to make you happy. Contact us through our website, call us at (602) 388-1529, or stop by to check out all we have to offer, from the best trees and plants to professional crews and planters to certified designers ready to make your yard the best in the neighborhood.

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