When it comes to choosing plants for our yards, parks, and streetscapes it is very important to properly identify trees. Identification can help you determine how much water does it needs, and what type of soil is it suited to. It can also help you determine when and if a disease diagnosis or an insect infestation must be dealt with. Quite often diseases and insects are specialists preferring one tree species over all others. So, identifying the tree properly provides a very strong clue in the diagnostic process.
For help with identifying Minnesota trees, go to: http://www.mntca.org/Reference_manual/Tree_info/Minnesota_Tree_Index.htm . This identification page was set up for a group of volunteers called “Tree Care Advisors” with the intent of improving diagnostic skills through proper identification.
Another good site to visit is: http://www.cnr.vt.edu/dendro/dendrology/main.htm . This site presents 800 fact sheets to view with pictures and descriptions. It also includes a tree key to help you narrow down the plant you are looking for.
Tree Identification Sites
Tree identification is a process of elimination, guided by questions like:
Is the tree an evergreen or deciduous (hardwood)?
Does the tree exhibit opposite or alternate branching?
Does the tree have simple or compound leaves?
Here are a couple of tree identification sites to try: First, from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/caer/ce/eek/veg/treekey/index.htm and the second is from the University of Minnesota: http://geo.cbs.umn.edu/treekey/
So, whatever your familiarity with the outdoors - grab a tree book and have some fun identifying trees in your backyard and around Minnesota.