OSU Extension Forestry Agent, Alicia Christiansen, teaching tree identification in the Native Plant Park at the Elkton Community Education Center.

Did you know that Oregon is home to 65 species of native trees? From the coast to the Cascades, valleys to deserts, our landscape is blanketed with a beautifully rich assortment of trees. With 30 species of conifers and 35 species of broadleaved trees, it can take a person a lifetime to learn how to comfortably identify all of our native trees. You might be asking yourself, “Why would anyone want to do that?”

Here are a few reasons:

  1. Maybe you have a tree on your property that seems sick — it looks weakened or diseased, or maybe it has an insect issue. In order to get to the root cause of the problem, you will need to properly identify the species of tree. If you incorrectly identify the tree species, then it’s easy to incorrectly identify the issue and never reach a solution.
  2. If you are looking to plant trees on your property, it is crucial to know which species of trees will thrive and which ones will likely die. Being aware of tree life characteristics can help you make the decision on what trees to plant, and which trees to avoid planting in your area. Some trees thrive in hot and dry conditions (like Oregon white oak), and some trees demand adequate moisture in order to live (such as Douglas Fir).
  3. Identifying trees can be fun. If you’re a self-identified tree nerd (like me), you might even challenge yourself to learn how to recognize all 65 of our native trees. This makes road trips more fun, and is a great conversation starter when you’re exploring Oregon’s forests.

The bottom line is that the more you know about the trees on your property, the better you can care for them and improve their overall health. Interested in learning more? The OSU Extension Service is offering a program on native tree identification from 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 28 at the Elkton Community Education Center in Elkton, 15850 State Hwy. 38 W., Elkton.

During the three-hour “Native Tree Walk,” I will lead participants on a short walking tour of the ECEC’s Native Plant Park, where we will learn to properly identify over 20 native trees. This program will give you all the tricks of the trade to identify native trees found in Douglas County — even the look-a-likes. Both conifer and broadleaved trees will be covered. The cost is $25 per family and includes one copy of the book “Trees to Know in Oregon.”

Advanced registration is required by Sept. 26. Register online by visiting https://extension.oregonstate.edu/douglas/events/2018-native-tree-walk. You can also register by calling 541-672-4461, or stopping by the Douglas County Extension office at 1134 SE Douglas Ave., Roseburg. If you have any questions about the class, please contact our office at 541-672-4461.

Alicia Christiansen is the Forestry Extension Agent for OSU Extension Service of Douglas County.

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