How to Identify Michigan Trees

The trees of our state are both beautiful and numerous.  Forests cover nearly 50 percent of the land within the state.  These forest contribute to the economic success of the state and also provide shelter to the many species of animals that live here.  Our forests contain over 100 different types of trees.  With the diversity of trees within our state in can be hard to tell what type of tree is which.  Let’s look at some of the most common trees of Michigan and some of their characteristics.

Red Maple

The Red Maple–  This is a beatiful tree and I have two of them in my front yard.  The most obvious characteristic of the Red Maple are the reddish colored leaves.  This tree is rather large and can live up to 200 years.  The bark on these trees is a gray color and is usually rather smooth.  Red Maples grow best in moist soils.

The Sugar Maple– A full grown Sugar Maple is usually between 75 and 100 feet tall.  The leaves of the tree are broad and flat, and the seeds come in winged pairs.  This tree can grow in many types of soil and best known for it’s production of maple sugar.

White Pine

  The White Pine– This tree can be identified by it’s pine needles.  They come in clusters of 5.  This tree also produces pine cones that are usually rather large.  The bark on these trees is smooth and gray on younger trees and is a little darker on older ones.  This tree flourishes in moist and sandy soils and is important to the lumber industries in many states.  I can remember on family trips to the Upper Peninsula seeing these trees everywhere.

The White Ash– This is largest of the Ash trees in North America.  The leaves of this tree are oval shaped and smooth.  The bark is rough and gray.  These trees grow best in moist, flat soils.  The wood of the White ash is hard, strong and flexible.  It is often used to make furniture. 

White Ash Bark


For an extensive guide on identifying Michigan trees visit

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