BUDS – If the tree is deciduous and has lost its leaves, you should be able to identify it by examining its buds.This is the most reliable way of identifying a deciduous tree in winter. Buds are located at the end of stems (terminal buds) and along stems (lateral buds). Here are photos of stems with lateral buds arranged in four different ways and examples are given of some of the trees that fit these categories.
Identification by buds can be difficult, particularly if the they are very small and not easy to see. So you may have to rely on other features in winter. Examine the bark, old leaves, old fruit, thorns, catkins or the tree shape and use one of the other options to see if they give you a clue to the tree identity and then check the buds again.
Horse Chestnut, Maples, Ash, Spindle, Elder, Box Elder, Dawn Redwood
Willows, Poplars, Beech, Hazel, Birch, Alder, Walnut, Sweet Chestnut, Birches
Elms, Limes, Mulberries