The State of Pennsylvania is a great place for trees. Even the name means “Penn’s woods.” According to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, there are 134 native and 62 introduced species of trees found in the state. Living here, you see trees every day, but when was the last time you really looked at the ones surrounding you? Have you wondered what kind they are? Trees are primarily identified by three things: their leaves, seeds, and bark. Below are some of our favorite Pennsylvania trees and how to Identify them.
There are several types of birch trees found in the area, but the easiest to identify is the white birch because of its bright white bark. Unfortunately, these striking trees do not live very long because they are susceptible to insects. They look especially beautiful against a clear blue sky.
The flowering dogwood is probably one of the prettiest trees you will find in the area. In the spring, it blooms with either white or pink bracts, and in the autumn, the leaves turn a bright red. A native tree, these are often planted seasonally as well. They are smaller in stature and their profiles are aesthetically pleasing in the landscape.
In 1931, Pennsylvania named the hemlock as the state tree. These trees are slow-growing and long-lived. It takes a hemlock 250 to 300 years to reach maturity, and it can live up to 800 years. Additionally, this evergreen tree was used by settlers in the region to build log cabins.
Maples in the area come in several different types, but the red maple is the most common tree in the state. The leaf of the maple tree is most likely the easiest to identify as it is found on the Canadian national flag and on the uniforms of the Toronto Maple Leafs. In the spring, maples shed their winged seeds that many people refer to as “helicopters,” but the technical name for them is Samaras. In autumn, maples turn a bright scarlet or brilliant orange.
Like the birch, there are several varieties of elms found in the area. Elm leaves are oval in shape and have a saw-toothed edge. This tree’s seeds are also called samaras, but the elm’s are oval in shape and hang in clusters. Elm leaves turn a golden yellow in autumn. Sadly, many of these stately trees have been lost to Dutch Elm disease.
Next to the maple, the oak leaf is probably the most easily identified, but it is this tree’s fruit that seems to be ubiquitous. The acorn is a food source for many woodland mammals. Depending on the species, oaks can turn yellow, red, or brownish in autumn. White oaks can live 400 or more years, and its wood is prized for hardwood flooring and for whiskey barrels. In the fall, this tree is a gorgeous orange-gold color that will attract a lot of attention. Most Pennsylvania homeowners use this tree as a shade tree for a larger yard because it does reach about 60 feet tall.
Interested in adding some of Pennsylvania’s most popular trees to your yard? Good’s Tree Care provides services for large and small tree planting projects alike. We can also provide site analysis and can make recommendations for suitable species selection based on site conditions.