Tree Identification

What Am I Looking At?

How old are these trees? Take a look around at the different sizes of the trees. How can you tell if they are old or young? You can tell the age of a tree by counting these rings. The widths of the rings vary depending on several factors, including amount of rainfall, available light, and length of growing season.

Ring Around a Tree

Counting the rings of a tree can tell you how old it is, and can provide historical information on local conditions. When there was a drought or the tree had a rough growing season, the rings are close together. If the rings are wide and far apart, it means it was an optimal growing season for the tree.

The annual rings of a tree are made each year when a new layer of wood is added to the trunk and branches of the tree.

There are two parts to an annual ring—a light portion and a darker portion. The light section is called springwood. This part of the ring is usually widest because the tree does most of its growing in the spring when there is more moisture. The darker part, summerwood, is thinner, because the growth slows down and finally stops for the year in the fall.

Identify a Leaf

Being able to identify the leaves around you is a good way to be able to tell what types of habitat you are in.

Red Maple
Pin Oak
Red Oak
Gray Birch
Paper Birch

Chipmunk Tracks
Courtesy Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife

What's Next?

By looking around can you see how many different types of leaves there are on this trail? Look at the leaves on this sign and see if you can find all 6 on your walk.