View Full Version : Learning about Trees

10-22-2004, 12:32 PM
The great thing about learning about trees is that it's very easy to get started - all you need is a tree to observe!

As one who usually relies highly on learning through books (although our library isn't built yet, the books take up a large portion of the garage, and include such light subjects as neuropsychology, artificial intelligence, and fractal geometry), I've found that books don't quite cut it with trees. They help, and I certainly have a fair number of books on identification, care, and suchlike, but there is no substitution for simply looking at more and more trees!

As a child, I was lucky to have a set of grandparents who pointed out this and that, and could identify anything that grew from a seed. I completely ignored them. Although I always loved the woods, I knew only a handful of trees (oak vs. maple vs. pine) with very few exceptions. It's only since I've bought my house in the woods that I really started paying attention to minute details and "become" capable of identifying them.

10-24-2004, 10:26 PM
I owe my neighbor who helped get me started on the tree thing. We have 2.4 acres between us and some empty land around us belonging to people with larger properties so there is plenty to observe.

Now I read a bit on line at the university sites, have a copy of Dirr's Manual or Woody Landscape Plants on borrow from a buddy who is studying for a hort degree, and love these message boards for bringing up questions and situations I might not even think of.

10-26-2004, 09:43 AM
Everyone in Member Services at The National Arbor Day Foundation has a copy of Dirr on his/her desk. The books that are most used around here for tree identification are "Trees of North American and Europe" by Roger Phillips and "Shrubs" by Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix. Both are available from Amazon and if you go through our website, we will receive credit for your purchase:


"Shrubs" contains over 1900 full color, high definition photos which make identifying even the most obscure shrub possible (i.e. Xanthorrhiza simplicissima).