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Tree Identification in Winter

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Sweetgum bundlle scars. Photo by Professor Alexander Krings, N.C. State UniversityOpposite buds of Acer rubrum. Photo by Professor Alexander Krings, N.C. State University.

Extension Gardener Workshop

Correct identification is a critical first step in making management decisions for any plant in the landscape or garden. Identification of tree species is of particular interest for landowners managing woodlands for wildlife or timber, for farmers with livestock browsing near potentially toxic species, and for naturalists seeking to enhance their familiarity with native trees.

Many may be deterred by the esoteric terminology and specialized features used for tree identification. Fortunately, most woody plants can be readily distinguished by twig, bud, and bark characteristics, making winter a great time of year to learn the identity of trees and understory shrubs on your property.

Join Matt Jones (Extension Horticulture Agent) and the Master Gardener℠ volunteers of Chatham County for a lecture and hands-on workshop on winter botany for landowners, landscapers, farmers, park managers, naturalists and anyone curious about trees. Participants will learn about the types of tree characters used for identification, as well as how to use free, online tools (such as dichotomous keys) from NC State University. Gain experience through both guided and individual practice identifying provided native tree samples.

Three identical sessions of this workshop are available to accommodate your schedule:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, 9:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. REGISTER
  • Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, 9:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. REGISTER
  • Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, 6–8:30 p.m. REGISTER

The workshop costs $10 per person. Registration and fee payment is required by Jan.17, 2020. Select a date and click on the REGISTER link above. Additional classes may be offered if there is sufficient demand. If spaces are full, add your name to the waitlist on the registration page.

Both workshops will be held at the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center (1192 US 64 W Business in Pittsboro).

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 Volunteer Core Training program

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

Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made by January 6, 2020, to Ginger Cunningham, County Extension Director, at 919-542-8202 or email: