But it has no leaves...
As autumn fades into winter, the first sharp frost arrives, highlighting the winter skeletons of trees. But without the leaves and blossom to help, it’s really hard to identify many trees on structure alone.
So an early morning session on tree identification in winter at Harcourt Arboretum really helped. The majority of trees are already labelled, so that, coupled with my pocket tree book from Collins, was all that was really needed.
Focus on the shape of the tree, whether the branches and buds are alternate or opposite, the size and shape of the buds and leaf scales.
Here are some quick tips:
- The Horse Chestnut (Aesculus) with its large sticky buds and elegant shape of branches that turn upward at the end.
- Poplars (Populus) with their erect habit with branches always stretching upwards.
- Beech (Fagus) has a beautiful smooth trunk; the buds are small, long and pointed with many scales, no short shoots.
- The Oak (Quercus) often has mushrooms growing at the base of the deeply riven trunk and looking at the skeleton it is very twiggy at the ends with buds also clustered at the ends.
- Birch (Betula) has a bark that comes off in layers, with catkins at the end of branches instead of terminal buds.
My favourite tree places:
Most popular trees of the moment:
- Cercis siliquastrum (Judas tree)
- Malus 'John Downie' (Crab apple)
- Sorbus Cashmiriana (Cashmir Rowan)
- Prunus armeniaca (Apricot Moorpark)
- Amelanchier lamarckii
With National Tree Week running from 28th November to 6th December this year - organised by the National Tree Council – the start of the winter tree planting season is launched. Many of the trees above are too big for the average garden, but the winter skeleton even on a smaller tree is an important factor in choosing your specimen.