New Extension Publication – Taking Photos of Trees

Taking Photos of Trees for Expert Identification and Urban Forest Inventories

Extension personnel often receive questions regarding the identification of a particular tree.  The current accessibility of digital photography, email, and text messaging provides the easiest means to submitting specimens for identification.

Digital Photography

Take close-up photos of the specimen with a digital camera.  Please consider the following:

  • Select a specimen that shows as many distinguishing characteristics of a species as possible.
  • If there is a dramatic variation in leaf shape on a single plant, include photographs of all leaf shapes.
  • Unique characteristics are particularly important to include such as thorns, twigs and branching pattern, or fruits/nuts if available.
  • Include a photograph of the bark showing its characteristics.
  • Finally, send a photograph of the tree in the landscape showing its form.
  • If necessary, crop the photos to reduce their size for easier downloading.
  • When sending your photographs to Extension personnel, include your contact information and any description you would like to provide about the plant, such as its size, history, or habitat.  If you like, you may use the Tree Identification Request Form on the back.   Send photographs via e-mail to your inventory facilitator/coordinator/team leader.

Tree Identification Request Form

  1. 1.       Specimen Description

 Specimen includes leaves:                       twigs:              fruit:                stem:                other:

Plant origin          naturally occurring:                 planted:                       unknown:

Plant size (approx.)          height:             diameter (at breast height):

Form                    single stem:                 multi-stem:

2.       Specialist’s Response     

 Common name:

Scientific name:

Normal range:


Primary uses: