Winter tree ID practice.

Discussion in 'Flora & Fauna' started by Woods Walker, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. Woods Walker

    Woods Walker Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Winter tree ID practice.

    I find tree ID much harder during the winter months without leaves, nuts, fruits etc to help. Other trees like conifers are mostly the same during winter. So here are some I tracked down a few weeks ago during an overnight outing/hike. Naturally being no expert on all things tree my ID and methodology could be off. Not sure if practice makes perfect in my case but it doesn’t hurt.

    1. Maple.

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    Winter clues:

    The bark does look like maple, maybe Swamp maple in this case. Also there is a blight or something on the bark which seems to be a maple issue within the area. Not 100% certain but that’s my best guess.

    2. Northern Red Oak.

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    Winter clues:

    The bark looks oakish and there are some branches with oak leaves still attached about the tree from late fall storms. Some oaks within my area will hold their leaves into winter. Like the maple I am not 100% sure.

    3. Iron wood, Muscle wood, Blue beech and maybe a few other common names.

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    Winter clues:

    The bark, size of the tree and shape of the trunk makes it distinctive no matter the season.

    4. Black birch.

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    Winter clues:

    The bark is well known to me. Someone could break off the ends of a branch and smell the Sweet birch which is another common name for the same tree.
     
  2. Woods Walker

    Woods Walker Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    5. Hemlock.

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    Winter clues:

    The needles, bark and cones are all clues that didn’t change much with the season.

    6. Yellow Birch.

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    Winter clues:

    I use the bark for tinder. It works just like White birch which wasn’t to be found during this outing. Also it tends to grow not that far from water but that’s no always the case. The bark and location locked in the ID.
     
  3. Woods Walker

    Woods Walker Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    7. American Beech.

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    Winter clues:

    The smooth bark and late season leaf retention by the smaller specimens.

    8. Tulip poplar.

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    Winter clues:

    Poplar bark stands out. The trees often grow tall and straight.

    9. Eastern Red cedar.

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    Winter clues.

    This one was dead but if alive it would have green needles. Also being dead is a clue because sometimes they’re found in dead overgrown stands. Cedar are some of the first trees to reforest a field but nothing is forever. Once taller trees overgrow them it is game over. The bark is used for tinder, therefore is another clue. If I cut into the tree there should be some reddish wood inside.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  4. Woods Walker

    Woods Walker Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    10. Eastern White pine.

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    Winter clues:

    The bark and conifer needles are unchanged for winter. I didn’t notice any cones.

    11. Mockernut/Pignut hickory.

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    Winter clues.

    To be honest I am not 100% sure on this one. It could be Mockernut, Pignut and even has a bit of a Shaggy look. The bark seems like hickory. The snow cover is hiding any husks from the past season but then again some years they don’t produce nuts. Oh well my best guess is Mockernut or Pignut hickory.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  5. Woods Walker

    Woods Walker Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Winter tree ID bonus round. Name that punkwood.

    I found this punkwood for the purpose of charring during my outing but what tree was it? There was no bark with only 1/3rd of the tree standing.

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    Winter clues:

    There was long dead hoof fungus still attached to the upper areas. This fungus commonly grows on American beech. I found multiple beech trees all around. Once again this is a guess based on the clues.

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    Identifying trees during winter can be challenging but fun. Sometimes despite using all the clues mistakes will happen, heck there could be a few here. LOL! Next time you’re out in the woods during winter give this a go. Thanks for looking.
     
  6. clanmaki

    clanmaki Guide

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    This is a great tutorial thanks! I have a hard time IDing some trees in the winter.
     
  7. Woods Walker

    Woods Walker Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Me too. Some of those IDs fall deep into the best guess category. :4:
     
  8. Iz

    Iz MEMBER of a BANNED Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Nice stuff, man.
    We have it easier here, we don't get much snow so one of the best ways around here to i.d. a tree in the winter is to look on the ground. You find clues there like, leaves, nuts, samara, seeds etc. That is if the bark doesn't tell you.
    I've got a key to Missouri trees in winter but I never could get myself to take the time to look at bud scars and all that stuff. I probably should some day.
     
  9. the procyon

    the procyon Tracker

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    IDing using the buds can be very helpful during the winter, but its tricky. I recommend practicing bud ID when the leaves are still on the trees for reference.
     
  10. Crazysanman

    Crazysanman Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass II

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    Very cool! I enjoyed that a lot. Thanks!
     
  11. riverjoe

    riverjoe Supporter Supporter

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    Great thread . I like to practice this skill my self . Like Iz said a guy should learn the whole leaf scare bud and twig thing to be sure but thats a lot of work isn't it . Some of the others Ive been trying to learn are Sassafrass cause of the excellent tea . Tamarack , Slippery Elm and Basswood because of the edible inner bark .
     
  12. TomS_Nbpt

    TomS_Nbpt Tracker

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    For folks in the Northeast, there is a great ID book entitled "Bark: A Field Guide to Trees of the Northeast"

    www.amazon.com/Bark-Field-Guide-Trees-Northeast/dp/1584658525

    It covers the most common trees in the area along with pictures of the bark in young, mature and old trees.. its amazing how much the bark can change over time.

    -- Tom
     
  13. Woods Walker

    Woods Walker Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Thanks Joe.

    I heard Sassafrass is linked to cancer or something but don't know. The inner bark of Hemlock and Black birch are also edible. I prefer bacon. :)
     
  14. Spider

    Spider Tracker

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    Some of the literature out there says sassafras in large quantities is carcinogenic BUT then soooo is your bacon ... And some folks eat copious quantities of that ...
     

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