2017-01-08 / Sports

Outdoors with Jim Collins: What is a tree?

The National Arbor Day Foundation is now offering a new guidebook that is now easier to use, and will help an average person identify trees in a simple, step-by-step process. What Tree It That? The following information is from the National Arbor Day Foundation press release. Linda Marie and I have been supporters of the National Arbor Day Foundation for many years.

“What Tree It That?” now features full-color, hand-drawn botanical illustrations of the distinctive characteristics of America’s most popular trees. Recreational and professional arborists alike have called this pocket field guide one of the most user-friendly resources to have at their fingertips. Its beautiful illustrations are in precise detail to depict natural colors, shapes, and textures, so users can make a positive species identification in just a few easy steps.”

Before I recommend any resource to readers, I like to check it out. I did so with the publication. While I knew the species of the conifer tree in our backyard, I pretended not to know. It took just a few minutes to identify the 89 foot Norway spruce. How did I determine the height of the tree? Basic mathematics and my rangefinder answered the question of height easily. This is fascinating stuff to me and others who like to identify trees, wildflowers, butterflies and birds.

The color in the new guide does make things a whole lot easier. In the case of the Norway spruce, the needle formation and the cone shape and length cinched the identification.

“What Tree is That?” Uses a unique step-by-step approach, explaining what to look for to determine the species of a specific tree – the shape of the leaves, the differences in the leaf stems and twig structures, the fruits and flowers, the details of buds and bark, etc.”

“Helping people enjoy and appreciate trees is central to the educational mission of the Arbor Day Foundation, and our improved pocket field guide will help people know their trees,” said John Rosenow, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “We wanted to give people a resource to help identify trees so they will be able to better appreciate them.”

“To obtain a new, full-color tree-identification guide, send your name and address and $5 for each guide to What Tree It That?, Arbor Day Foundation, Nebraska City, NE 68410. You can also order the book online at www.arborday.org.


Jim Collins is an outdoor columnist for The Sunday Review. He can be contacted by e-mail at jimcollinsinsurance@frontiernet.net or by mail at Outdoors with Jim Collins, HC, 1: 87 Windfall Road, Alba, PA, 16910.

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