Trees can be a critical component of your landscape. The impact they can have on the environment and their ability to enhance the visual appeal of your property is significant. However, not all trees can fulfill these requirements. Knowing which ones you have on your property and their possible impact is crucial.

Hence, the team at Croft Tree Experts would like you to know exactly how to identify trees in your environment and how they can impact your property.

How To Identify Trees

Many different factors can help you in tree identification. The common features that all trees share can be used to differentiate between them.


A basic starting point for tree identification is analyzing the leaves. Using their shape and type can help narrow down the tree’s identity. The basic leaf types are needles, broadleaf and scales. Leaves of the needles and scales variety are often found on evergreens while broadleaf variants are found on deciduous trees. Common leaf-distinguishing shapes include ovate (egg-shaped), deltoid (triangular), cordate (heart-shaped), orbicular (round) and lanceolate (narrow and long). There are exceptions to these classifications, like palm-shaped maple leafs and elliptical leaves of the live oak.

Leaf Buds

The appearance and arrangement of leaf buds are helpful in tree identification, especially in winter when deciduous trees do not have leaves. Some buds are very characteristic, the buds of beech trees have sharp points while oak tree buds are small, clustered, and protected by scales. Elm trees tend to have alternate buds that appear on the stem’s opposite sides in alternating pairs. Knowing what the buds look like and how they are arranged on the tree can help identify a particular tree.


When you consider its particular variety, bark can also be helpful in tree identification. The common classifications for bark are colour, texture, and age. Many tree species have bark that is grey or brown in colour but other species have bark with colours like cinnamon, white, silver, greenish-white, and copper. Variations in bark texture include furrowed, peeling, warty, papery, shiny, smooth and scaly. As the tree ages, the colours and textures of the bark usually change simultaneously. Silver maple in particular has been shown to change from a smooth bark that is silver in colour to a furrowed bark with grey and black colours.


As they grow, trees tend to make a distinctive shape that can be used to identify them. The shape tends to change due to factors like age and available space, so this is mostly used to identify young trees that exist in open spaces. For instance, the American elm usually grows in the shape of a vase while the sweet gum takes the shape of a pyramid.

trees in backyard park

Why Tree Identification Is Important

It may not seem like a crucial issue but knowing the kind of trees growing on your property can inform the decision-making process concerning your landscape. The trees growing on your property can have a significant impact on you and your neighbours.

Trees can increase your property value when they have improved upon your property. Aesthetic value is the most obvious consideration, mature trees can remarkably increase curb appeal and add 5% to your property value if you want to sell.

Trees are also known to improve energy efficiency by facilitating optimal temperatures on your property. As such you can save money on your air conditioning and heating costs with trees around your home.

If you value privacy and relaxation, you will derive those benefits from having trees on your property. Research shows that tree exposure, especially in the daytime, reduces muscle tension, blood pressure, and stress levels within 5 minutes. These benefits also extend to your community at large.

However, some trees can negatively affect your property value if grown on your property. When your trees on your property create more problems than they solve, it is probably best to think about removing and replacing them with a more suitable plant.

Trees that grow very large roots can be very problematic when they encroach on boundaries. If the roots wander into sidewalks and curbs, they can crack and deform. This forced alteration makes them a hazard for pedestrians and detracts from the neighbourhood’s aesthetic appeal. If the roots wander into a neighbour’s property, they can damage fences and other structures, creating a significant financial liability for you.

Trees can also cause other troubles with your neighbours. If your tree blocks your neighbour’s aerial view, that can create issues in the community. This is especially significant if your neighbourhood has specific ordinances to allow for scenic views. Also, storms can break the limbs of your tree and throw them into your neighbour’s property. If you haven’t properly maintained your tree, you will be liable for those damages.

If you aren’t sure of the possible impact of a tree on your property and neighbourhood, you can consult a certified arborist who will conduct a tree assessment. After the tree inspection is complete, the report will let you know whether or not you need to replace the tree.

What Trees Are Best For Ottawa Backyards

Ottawa is home to a broad range of habitats that maintains a diverse population of plants. Hence there are a large number of trees that are native to the area and suitable for planting on your property.

backyard lounge with trees

Small trees that grow flowers are great for planting in Ottawa backyards. The flowers draw pollinators, which leads to fruiting. That provides extra appeal and food for birds and wildlife. Examples include:
-Alternate-leaved Dogwood
-Blue beech
-Pin cherry
-Maple (mountain or striped)
-White Cedar (evergreen)

Large trees serve as habitats for many birds and other wildlife. They are also beneficial in providing clean air, great shade and increased property values. Examples include:
-American beech
-Balsam fir
-Birch (white or yellow)
-Bitternut hickory
-Black cherry
-Maple (red, silver, united or sugar)
-Oak (red or bur)
-White pine
-White spruce

Croft Tree Experts – Ottawa’s Expert Tree Care Services

The ability to identify trees on your property can help you avoid many nuisances and liabilities as you benefit from their many advantages.

Please contact us if you need professional help with trees on your property. Croft Tree Experts provide the best arborist services in Ottawa. Our certified arborists can help identify trees and diagnose any potential problems and tree care specialists will aid with any pruning, mulching, or removal that is necessary. Our experience in rural and urban areas ensures that we can assist you in creating the landscape you desire.