In no particular order, here are some tree reference books you can peruse at your leisure or add to your wish list.
Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses.
Author - Michael Dirr
- Color photographs showing a selection of trees at maturity make this a great book to consult when studying twigs and buds or when selecting a tree for your yard. However, the book size makes it too big to take on a hike.
Smithsonian Handbooks: Trees
Author - Allen J. Coombes.
- Trees is divided into broadleaf and conifer, then subdivided into families. For example, oaks and beaches will be found together under Fagaceae. The photos include leaves, fruit, flowers and buds.
- Trees are presented by type of leaf (simple, compound), with flowers and fruit color-keyed.
Authors - George Petrides and Janet Wehr
- Color plates in the front illustrate buds, fruit, twigs, flowers and leaves. Text is in the rear.
Author - Melanie Choukas-Bradley
- Descriptions and photos of trees familiar to this area, plus historic and other places to see significant trees. Ms. Choukas-Bradley frequently leads tree tours for Casey Trees.
- This handy guide is out of print but needs to be brought back. Detailed information about four dozen oaks, with drawings, leaf comparisons and detailed descriptions. Grab it if you can find it.
- This will allow you to key out a tree based on leaf or needle and buds. Good for young trees, hard to use in a more mature setting where buds are not at eye level.
Want a more substantive book?
The Urban Tree Book: An Uncommon Field Guide for City and Town
Author - Arthur Plotnik
- Mr. Plotnik follows the alphabet, describing more than 200 urban trees. This is more of a narrative, with a little history or cultural information about trees ranging from tree of heaven to sweet gum to many oaks. A terrific book for browsing.
Author - Colin Tudge.
- A little geology, a lot of botany and an enjoyable read by a research scientist. It will change your perception of what is a native tree.
Author - Joan Maloof
- Ms. Maloof lives on the Eastern Shore and writes about native trees we have taken for granted and are losing.