Sunday, February 1, 2009

TREE IDENTIFICATION REFERENCES

So after yesterday’s tree ID with Skeeter, I figured that I needed to share my New Year’s Resolution…………last year’s!!! Last year I decided I needed to know more trees. I could ID an evergreen versus a deciduous one….not a very loft feat. Many of the folks I know are Tree Stewards. Some have even asked me about taking the class and becoming a Tree Steward myself. I laugh to myself and think “if they only knew”.
Back in October I had the occasion to be at a park in Williamsburg with two very knowledgeable men and quizzed them quite a bit about the trees we were walking among. After our tour I picked their brains for the best reference books for identifying trees. The first was a no-brainer. Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs. This is an excellent book to have on hand.


The next is Tree Finder by May Watts. A good one to have in your hip pocket as you walk through the woods.


The third one I recently purchased was by the publisher Dorling Kindersley. It is a Smithsonian Handbooks series… titled Trees by Allen J. Coombes.



The fourth one I had already. It is Hampton Roads Urban Forest Field Guide . It is a collaborative effort under the guidance of Dr. Bonnie Appleton, Professor of Horticulture at Virginia Tech.



I use all four and the internet to further my conclusions….then I ask my Tree Steward friends if I am even close to a correct ID.!?!?


20 comments:

  1. I'm a great fan of trees and shrubs, but I still have lots of challenges when it comes to identifying them, especially in winter. Of course, winter is also not conducive (in my part of the world) to wandering around outside, Dirr in hand, trying to figure out if that's a Viburnum or a Hamamelis. :-) I did get a very useful book for the Maritimes recently, but again, I gotta stop being a sook and actually GO outside and roam round the woods etc if I want to get more proficient at iding woodies in winter. Maybe in March....

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  2. Don't ask the tree steward for an id-I am one and still have difficulties, though I can read keys IF I have to. The course was very fun though and I enjoy being around other 'tree huggers' too. I will definitely have to look for the Dirr book. I have his on woody plants but not trees and shrubs specific. I still remember my snafu with thinking I had a black walnut and it was a hickory tree. Ha! On me! Thanks for the resources. You are very helpful and I appreciate it!

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  3. These look like some great books for identifying the unknown! I also like to get books that pertain to my area. I have not looked for one just on Native GA trees but I’m sure there is one out there somewhere. Did not get to the book store yesterday as yard project was priority. But soon I will be looking for that perfect tree book. Is there such a book? Probably the Encyclopedia is the best bet with more info then to internet from there.

    I was looking at some leaves while walking back from cat sitting for my neighbors this morning and decided to wait on more tree ID’ing until the leaves are green this summer. Too difficult with only brown leaf to examine.

    Speaking of trees, today will be full of picking up limbs and debris from high winds. Not my favorite fun in the yard…

    Have a good Day and Thanks for the link :-) and all your wonderful info!

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  4. Hi Janet, those are great books. Dirr is highly regarded around here and I need to get his book. You are a good researcher, that is the way to learn, but having knowledgeable friends is even better!
    Frances

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  5. Dirr's is the best. And I have Coombes. Last year for my first plant identification class, it was winter here in Iowa. I thought it impossible to learn trees and shrubs in the dead of winter, but, boy, did I learn to name trees. The bark, the buds, and their shape all provide tremendous ID clues. Have fun!

    PS. I still ask myself how I could travel my daily path and not really see these amazing plants.

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  6. Jodi, I guess winter just puts another level of challenge to those of us trying to use our 'skills'.
    Tina, I know when I became a MG I found out how much I DIDN'T know. Knowledge of what I was lacking. Glad I was helpful.
    Skeeter, The Tree Finder by Watts is one that uses leaves for their ID. Good place to start. Dirr's Woody Plants is another one I want to get...maybe next year.
    Frances, aren't knowledgable friends good references? ;-)
    Larkspur, It is amazing to see what we can learn. There is so much around us to take in.

    Thanks to everyone for stopping by.

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  7. I am typing this within an arm's reach of three books by Dr. Dirr. I have the one you mentioned, plus The Manual of Woody Landscape Plants (my bible) and one I would recommend for anyone living south of D.C., Trees and Shrubs for Warm Climates. I also like the more totable Audubon Field Guide to North American Trees.

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  8. I know the Woody Plants one, will have to check out the other Dirr. Thanks Les.

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  9. Les, Had to Google the Audubon one as it sounded familiar. It was one of the ones recommended -- I went with the Smithsonian one as it was also recommended. Flipped the proverbial coin.

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  10. Did you ever think that, at first glance, to the uninitiated, slightly dyslexic reader, Dirr's book might first be interpreted as "Dirty Harry's Manual of Trees and Shrubs"? I teach people who read like that, so of course now I do, too!

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  11. Thank you for your recent comments at Robin's Nesting Place. I've enjoyed reading your blog and just added you to my Blogger following list. I look forward to reading more!

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  12. Good for you on trying to become more knowledgeable about trees! To be honest I should get some of those books myself to help with identification of some of the trees in my neighborhood. :)

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  13. Thanks for adding me Robin. Come back and visit often.
    Racquel, I felt pretty stupid not knowing one tree from another...so it was time to take matters into my own hands. READ!

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  14. My tree ID book walks and talks. He uses the Latin names, too. :-) He can't tell me about ornamentals, but he knows the forests. Besides his forestry degree, he was a ranger in Idaho, Georgia and North Carolina before getting his MBA and switching to a software company -- where we met! :-)

    Cameron

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  15. Sounds like a good reference to snuggle up with.... :-)

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  16. I have TREES, by Allen Coombes! I got it at the Smithsonian! It is a very nice looking book and quite informative, too!

    Now I'm going to go take a look at it! It's with my stack of bird books...and gardening books; I guess we are all just thinking about all these things and just can't wait to get out there and DO a few of them!!!!

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  17. Cameron, I've seen you refer to him as the 'Musician' too. He must be multi-talented. A definite keeper!!

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  18. That's me -- don't know too much about trees other than those common to our Central Texas area here. Great post -- I will write down those books -- I might have to get one of them. Where in Germany did you live? My Mom's German and we visit our family there every other year.

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  19. Having a good book or two on tree identification is important to me. When I went to Hort. college the best one I could find was a 2nd hand copy of a catalog for Hillier Nursery in the UK, it was amazing. Later the published 'The Hillier Manual of Trees & Shrubs' and this has become my 'go to' book of choice. It never fails me.

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