Tree Identification: Explore Nature With Your Kids

leaf and tree identification

Knowing about local trees and plants can make your next family hike even more enjoyable. Learn about tree identification so you’ll all enjoy nature right outside your door!

Spending time in nature with your kids can be one of the great joys of being a parent. Whether you’re teaching them to ride a bike or going camping, many precious memories can be made. That’s why it’s a great idea to teach your kids more about trees and nature. Instead of simply playing with a twig, tree identification by a leaf will give them another way to engage with the world around them! Share your nature stories on your favorite family app.

What Are the Main Types of Trees?

One of the easiest ways to start identifying nature is by telling your kids about the two main types of trees. From here, it will make tree identification a little bit simpler!

  • Deciduous Trees – This tree type generally sheds its leaves in autumn and blooms again in the springtime. They have a variety of different leaf shapes, and include trees like oaks, elms and maples. Many fruit and nut trees are part of this family.
  • Coniferous Trees – A coniferous tree stays green all year round and doesn’t need to shed its leaves since it doesn’t have any! Tree identification for this type is made easy by the needles. Coniferous trees are mainly evergreens like pine and cedar.

How Do You Learn Tree Identification

Tree and leaf identification might seem straightforward, but there’s a lot to it. Characteristic features like leaves and needles, bark or flower give you a hint to identify the tree in front of you. For some species, remembering one detail is helpful.

  • Beech Trees – These stately trees stand out for their massive root system! They can live for 350 years and are important to all of the rodents and birds that consume the nuts they produce. This species can be identified by its smooth grey bark.
  • Pine Trees – Most people can spot a pine tree by its characteristic needles! To identify a pine, have a close look at the twig: Pines have clusters with 2, 3 or 5 needles. However, these trees are pretty common, but they also happen to be pretty important for wildlife. They produce pine nuts and offer a great nesting spot for many birds!
  • Magnolias – These trees are known by the beautiful flowers that adorn them in spring. Alongside their striking appearance, they’re also a food source for squirrels, deers and insects. If you’re using tree identification by leaf, smooth, large evergreen leaves identify these trees.

What Is the Best Tree Identification App?

There are plenty of great sources of tree information in your local library. However, you might want to try one of the following if you’re looking for the quick snap of a tree identification app! 

  • LeafSnap – This electronic field guide offers plenty of high-quality photos for tree identification for beginners! All the user has to do is take a photograph of a leaf and the app instantly identifies the tree. However, be aware that LeafSnap only includes trees found in the Northeastern United States.
  • Botany Buddy – This app has a database with more than 1,300 species so you can learn more about nature in your area! You can even use it offline so you won’t have to miss anything when you find an unknown leaf along the trails. Share your discoveries with other users on your favorite family app!

Most kids are getting a lot of screen time lately, but it’s a great time to be outside. Fortunately, by learning about trees and their leaf shape, children can develop an affinity and stewardship for the natural world. Do you have any tree identification tips? Share them with other parents in our comments. There’s nothing like a little learning to make your kids appreciate the majesty of nature even more!

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