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Identification of Trees of the Piedmont

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Extension Gardener Workshop

September 23, 2023 9:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m.

Tulip poplar leaf

Image: Cathy Dewitt CC BY 4.0

The abundant trees and forests are among the appealing aspects of central North Carolina. With the right tools and some careful observation, identifying the species of trees around you provides a way to better understand and appreciate your environment. Knowing a tree’s identity can help you make appropriate management decisions, including diagnosing problems, determining if it is invasive, or assessing how species can support wildlife.

While smartphone identification apps are improving, their accuracy is usually limited to the genus level, and that accuracy is dependent on the quality and context of the photo. Relying on phone apps also degrades observational skills that cultivate a deeper appreciation of nature. Instead, we should learn how to identify local trees by carefully observing the morphology and form of their leaves, bark, flowers, and fruit.

Join Matt Jones (Extension Horticulture Agent) and the Master Gardener Volunteers of Chatham County for a hand-on workshop about how to identify trees in the North Carolina Piedmont. Participants will learn about plant morphology and the terminology helpful for identification, as well as how to find and use dichotomous keys for plants in our region. We’ll then practice using these keys in the classroom with sample tree parts. The workshop will conclude with a brief hike at Town Lake Park to learn about some of the field characters to ID local trees. Registration price covers the cost of a 10x Hastings triplet hand lens.

Register for the in-person workshop: 9/23/23 9:00-1:00 p.m. (Location)

This workshop is part of the Extension Gardener series of workshops that are open to everyone. It is also part of the Extension Master Gardener℠ program. More information about becoming a Master Gardener volunteer in Chatham County.

QUESTIONS? Contact N.C. Cooperative Extension, Chatham County Center by calling 919-542-8202 or email

Subscribe to the Chatham Gardener email list to receive announcements of upcoming Extension events and timely updates on sustainable lawn, garden, and landscape care for the central NC Piedmont.

NC State University and N.C. A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity and prohibit discrimination and harassment regardless of age, color, disability, family and marital status, genetic information, national origin, political beliefs, race, religion, sexual identity (including pregnancy), and veteran status. NC State, N.C. A&T, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating. Persons with disabilities and persons with limited English proficiency may request accommodations to participate by contacting Ginger Cunningham, County Extension Director, at 919.542.8202,, or in person at the County Extension Center at least 30 days prior to the event.