Learn tree identification tips on MDC hike at Cape Girardeau Nature Center on Sept. 12

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Learning how to identify one species of tree from another can have a variety of benefits for homeowners and outdoor enthusiasts.

People can learn more about tree identification by taking a guided hike at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center on Sept. 12. This free program, "Tree Identification Hike,” will be from 1-3 p.m.

Leaf shape is the most common tree identification tool, but there are other differences between the species that become clear when you know what to look for. The texture, thickness, and overall appearance of bark can help determine what type of tree it is. So can branch formation. Most trees can be divided into two categories – opposite (branches are directly across from each other on the same limb) and alternate (opposing branches are not directly across from each other).

How are tree ID skills helpful? If you’re cutting firewood or doing any kind of timber thinning projects in winter after leaves have fallen, you want to be sure you’re removing the proper species. If you’re planning to add trees to a site, knowing the species that are already growing there may provide insight about what other species are suited for that area. Being able to identify tree species also often provides insight about the wildlife that may be living around you.

The Sept. 12 program consists of an approximate one-mile hike. To ensure the safety of all, participants will be required to wear a face covering and to social distance. People can register for the program at:


Though this program is free, registration is required. MDC’s Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center is located at 2289 County Park Drive.

Staff at MDC facilities across the state are holding programs. A listing of these programs can be found at mdc.mo.gov/regions.