How can I get to know my trees?

I really like trees. Being surrounded by woody giants of history and strength somehow fills me with calm and wonder. When I was last in the woods, I decided I wanted to get to know my trees better.

Who are they?
How are they different?

Deciduous trees (their leaves are lost in the autumn and grow back in the spring) can be tricky to identify during the winter as you can’t use their leaves as clues. However, twigs and leaf buds can help us to be tree detectives.

By looking at the shape and location of the buds and the colour and texture of the twig, I predicted that one of my twigs must be from a Sycamore tree. But I wanted to be certain. So I put my twigs, including my suspected Sycamore, in a jar of water at my house and waited for the leaves to sprout…

A week later, the first twig to show signs of leaves was my suspected Sycamore! I found another identification chart, this time for leaves, and…

Success! It’s fun being a tree detective! I look forward to seeing if my other predictions are correct as the other types of twigs begin to show their leaves!

Have a look at this video…it shows the Sycamore tree in all its glory, changing throughout the year!

It is important to have these ways of identifying different types of trees as in the world there are over 60,000 different species! Certain tree species may only be found in certain areas because different species need certain things to survive and thrive. If a certain tree species needs lots of water, it will probably only be found in places where there is enough rain. Similarly, other tree species don’t need so much water so may be found in drier places. Other conditions that affect where we find different types of trees include what makes up the soil they are growing in.

In Seeley Copse, the location of my woodland wonderings, the soil contains some clay. I know this because I could roll some mud into a shape in my hands! This helps the soil and mud to hold in water.

This could explain why Sycamore trees are common in these woods, as they prefer growing in conditions with plenty of water and rich soil.

So, I’ve definitely got to know my trees better! But there is still more to explore…

Next time I will be digging deeper into what stories the trees can tell…


Carroll, J. (No Date) Sycamore Tree Care: How To Grow A Sycamore Tree

Kinver, M. (2017) World is home to ‘60,000 tree species’

The Woodland Trust. (No Date) Leaf buds and twigs

The Woodland Trust. (2015) Leaf ID

The Woodland Trust. (2017) A Year in the Life of a Sycamore Tree

Tree Identification. (No Date) Why Different Trees Grow In Different Places 

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