Urban tree identification tool available

By Dan Buckler, Urban Forestry Assessment Specialist

Many guides help you distinguish between a black and a northern red oak, or between a beech and a musclewood. But for many people just trying to identify a tree outside their door, these guides might not be appropriate. Some include too many trees from out-of-state, some focus on trees only found in rural areas, and some others are weighed down by detail. 

Enter Wisconsin Urban Tree Key. In this new information sheet, users are shown the 64 most commonly found trees in Wisconsin communities. It was designed for students, amateurs and those who need a simple reminder of differences between some common trees. A detailed and exhaustive tome this is not, but rather a quick survey of those trees expected in your neck of the [urban] woods.

The document is organized into three broad categories – opposite and alternate broadleaf trees, and conifers. Foliage is shown for each tree in addition to flowers, fruits and/or other distinguishing characteristics. Notes help to further distinguish trees from one another.

The trees in this resource were selected based on multiple urban forestry data sources, including the Urban Forest Inventory and Analysis and the Wisconsin Community Tree Map. The document can be updated as more data come online.

We are not pursuing a print-run, so the tree key can be adjusted periodically based on suggestions. These can be sent at any time to daniel.buckler@wisconsin.gov. Thanks to everybody who has already given feedback.

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