Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Tree Identification

I heard a story about a guy who applied for a job with the BTCV (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers).  When he arrived for the interview he was presented with leafless twigs from 20 different trees to identify.  He got two wrong but was still given the job.
The fact is that if you are leading a winter conservation task with gung-ho volunteers you don't want them cutting down any rare trees such as Wild Service (Sorbus torminalis).

I do know a woodland owner in Essex, who shall be nameless, who on purchasing their woods did cut down their only notable tree and got me to identify the regrowth from the coppice stump...It was a Wild Service and they had thought it was a Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus).


Dave Brock said...

I've always had a great appreciation for those woodsmen who can easily identify a tree without the leaves. Someone once told me that the best time for maintaining your trails is when the rain comes, then you can mark the low spots.

Likewise, the best time to get good at tree identification is when "the puddles are full" that is, when the trees are full with life and leaves. Don't just study the leaves but study the bark and other clues. Over the years it really does get easier to identify trees during the winter and from your pictures it appears that Europe is really frozen this winter.

Robin Fawcett said...

On the previous post about the young Elm tree the thing to notice is that the twigs have a shape like a fish bone. Young Elm twigs can also have corky "wings" but so do Field Maple & Elder. So yes, learn as many identification features as possible. I never get sick of it at all times of the year - eventually you can id. a tree from quite a distance. The great tree man Alan Mitchell called this 'jizzing'.

Robin Fawcett said...

Perhaps I should clarify the previous comment.
The branches and twigs of young elms look like a fish skeleton.

Woodland Antics said...

Hi Robin,

thanks for that - I find tree idents particularly difficult, so your description and photos were very helpful and stick in my flaky memory. Please keep it up, and maybe I will try a couple of basic ones as well.



Keith said...

"who on purchasing their woods did cut down their only notable tree". The mind boggles!
Le Loup.