The importance of trees to our ecosystem cannot be overstated. As prodigious producers of oxygen, trees contribute to our environment’s ability to sustain animal life. Over the years, people have found many other uses for trees, including shade, recreation, and ornamentation. And of course, we also use their wood to build homes and furniture. One way to start becoming proficient at spotting different types of trees is to use dichotomous keys, or features that split the population in two. A common dichotomous key for trees is deciduous vs. coniferous. Deciduous trees produce leaves in the spring, which they lose in autumn and winter. Coniferous (cone-bearing) trees, on the other hand, maintain their needles year-round. You can narrow down your search for a particular tree species by knowing which areas it’s likely to grow in. The United States is divided into 11 areas called hardiness zones, which give some insight into which trees are likely to do well locally. We can also study a tree’s leaves, bark, and wood for additional help in identification. Identifying trees can be an interesting pastime, and it’s also a deceptively challenging activity. Trees have a high degree of variability, but some species have just enough in common to fool our eyes. By researching each species and its individual traits, however, we can learn to confidently and accurately identify different types of trees.
The Arbor Day Foundation provides this informative site that can help you narrow down the possible fingerprint for any tree. It does this by starting with leaves and needles and prompting you with a series of yes-or-no questions.
Browse high-quality photos of many common tree types and learn about their features on this helpful page.
This collection of fruit trees includes important information about which climate zones can produce each type.
Read about a wide variety of trees and the fruit they produce. This list covers fruits grown all over the world and can be a great source of garden inspiration.
Detailed information about how fruit trees pollinate is essential to successful yields. Some fruit trees are self-fruitful, while others require pollination from another tree of the same or similar species. Some also require pollination assistance in the form of bees or other insects.
If you’re seeking to add fruit trees to your garden or backyard, this page has the information you’ll need. Learn which trees are self-fruitful, when to harvest each variety, and how many hours of chill time each needs to produce fruit.
This extensive list of coniferous trees includes the common name and scientific name and a photo gallery for each.
How to Identify Coniferous Trees
A few easy tricks can help you spot the differences between pine and spruce and identify coniferous trees of all types.
Telling the Difference Between Spruce and Pine Trees
Spruce and pine trees can look very similar. After all, they both feature needles instead of leaves, maintain those needles all year long, and produce cones. This page helps shed some light on their differences.
Hardwood Trees of the Northeast
This site categorizes hardwood trees by leaf type so you can quickly identify any tree you encounter in nature.
We know trees absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, but they actually influence weather and climate as well.
This interactive map allows users to drill down to their exact hardiness zone and find out which plants are likely to grow well at their location. The map is accurate to a scale of a half-mile.
Once you know which hardiness zone you live in, how do you use this information? Equipped with your zone number, you can choose which plants will thrive in your area and know when to plant for maximum yields. You can also get a better idea of which trees might be growing near you.
Hardiness Zones for Home Gardeners
Bob Vila brings hardiness zone information home, summarizing what these numbers mean to your yard and garden.
The U.S. Forest Service calculates the expected effects of climate change and uses this data to predict habitability for various species in each location.
Trees can be identified based on their leaves, bark, fruit, and other characteristics. Learning to identify these features is part of learning to identify tree species.
This interactive can help you identify trees by leaf, fruit, or name. Where trees are similar, links are provided to several types for further differentiation.
Clear illustrations and plain language help break down the parts of a tree on this helpful site. Once you know the basics, distinguishing between tree species is much simpler.
National Geographic presents this guide to help curious kids delve into the world of trees. Not only will young nature-lovers learn more about trees, but they’ll be encouraged to keep investigating.
This site is provided by Britain’s Woodland Trust, but the information included is universal. The whole family can learn more about our natural surroundings by paying careful attention to nature’s clues.
Make a Neighborhood Tree Guide
Online tree guides are great, but how can you keep track of and remember what you’ve learned? This nature and art activity helps kids put together a record of the trees in their local area.
From the roots to the crown, trees are made up of multiple parts. Knowing the difference between twigs and branches can help in your identification efforts.
Types of Trees With Their Name and Picture
Visual learners will rejoice at this site’s image-centric approach. A total of 77 types of trees are included, with high-quality photos of each.
Identifying Trees by Their Leaves
Detailed photos of leaves lead to in-depth tree articles on this University of Tennessee site.
Why do some trees produce leaves and some trees have needles? Find out with this helpful guide.
Dichotomous Keys for Tree Identification
A dichotomous key is one that divides a population in half. Learn to use this method to separate tree and plant species for easier identification.
Tree and Shrub Identification Made Simple
With extensive photographs and text featuring leaves, twigs, and fruit, this document is an all-in-one identification guide.
How to Identify Different Types of Trees
One of the first things to look at when trying to identify a tree is the shape of its leaves.
First Steps in Identifying Wood
It’s a bit trickier to identify what type of tree a piece of wood came from, but it’s not impossible.
15 Trees Every Outdoor-Lover Should Learn to Identify
If you find yourself in a survival situation, some trees can provide important resources.
As an article and comment contributor to the site, Scott has been around the pressure washing industry since attending college. In 1993 he started his first company called Oakland Pressure Wash specializing in exterior pressure washing and deck staining. That company evolved into OPW L.L.C. shortly thereafter concentrating more on exterior wood and deck restoration. Scott and his Deck Cleaning Michigan company have restored over 10,000 decks in the Metro Detroit area since the early years. He has become an authority in the deck restoration industry and has contributed to numerous wood restoration forums and informative sites.
All the products he suggests through this site are sold through online sites and in retail stores, allowing the consumer to choose their own means of purchase. Scott’s eCommerce sites do sell many top brands he endorses and if you appreciate any of the help he has offered then feel free to purchase from one of them.