Tree Identifier

Home » Tree Identifier

Northeast Ohio – What tree is this?

Red Oak

Part of the Red Oak group of trees, so named for their reddish colored bark. It is a popular shade tree and a major part of Ohio’s timber industry, with quality hardwood used for furniture, flooring and other building uses. Also known as the Northern Red Oak, it will grow 60 feet tall with a wide canopy in urban settings, or taller in the wild. It is a fast-growing tree and adaptable to various conditions but does best in well-drained soil with full to partial sun.

  • Leaves – Shiny green with 7 to 11 lobes; change to red, yellow and yellow brown in the fall.
  • Fruit/seed – Large acorns develop in two years and ripen by late summer to early fall.
  • Disease/pests – Generally resistant other than spots that develop on foliage due to insect feeding.

White Ash

Commonly found throughout Ohio growing wild in forests and fields, White Ash wood is considered best for baseball bats, tool handles and furniture. It also is a common firewood. It is a medium to fast grower and excellent shade tree with a wide, round canopy. It will grow to 70 feet tall in moist, well-drained soils with full to partial sun and without incidence of drought.

  • Leaves – Dark green and pinnately compound, usually with 7 or 9 leaflets; whitish green underside gives the tree its name. Leaves change to bright yellow and orange in the fall.
  • Fruit/seed – Clusters of round seeds (samaras) featuring a wing hang together, then detach separately at maturity and spin down in the fall.
  • Disease/pests — Leaf anthracnose, a foliage blemish that occurs in unusually wet springs; Emerald Ash Borer from Asia is a threat to all ash trees in Ohio because it attacks the tree beneath its bark, killing the tree in 3 to 5 years.

American Beech

Distinguished by its smooth gray bark, the American Beech thrives across the state, but is commonly found in mature forests. Its partially hollow trunk provides nesting for wildlife, especially squirrels, raccoons and opossums. It’s a slow-growing tree with a short trunk and generous canopy. Most will grow to 80 feet in rich, moist soil with partial sun, although it is adaptable to most conditions.

  • Leaves – Single leaves have serrated edges; start as light green and gradually change to medium and dark green as they grow. Color changes range from yellow green to golden brown in the fall.
  • Fruit/seed – Edible nuts inside a prickly husk mature by late summer.
  • Disease/pests – Generally healthy, although Beech bark disease, caused by the Beech scale interacting with a strain of Nectria fungus can kill these trees.

Silver Maple

Native to the east, it grows throughout Ohio and is a common shade tree. The Silver Maple is an extremely fast grower, contributing to its brittle wood, which is easily damaged by wind. It grows to 80 feet tall in open areas, with a wide canopy that fills in as it matures. Sometimes called Water Maple, it grows best in swampy areas in full sun, but is easily adaptable to dry or rocky conditions.

  • Leaves – Single leaves are dark green with silver undersides and have five lobes, deeply indented and toothed; distinguished by easily turning over in a breeze and creating a two-toned appearance. They change to light yellowy green with bits of red, gold and brown in the fall.
  • Fruit/seed – Samaras are paired and hang in clusters in the spring, with thick seeds featuring a wide wing, which drop and spin in late spring.
  • Disease/pests – Relatively resistant to diseases and pests, but can suffer from leaf anthracnose, Verticillium wilt, and bleeding canker or be attacked by bladder-gall mite and cottony maple scale.


Seen mostly in urban landscaping in Ohio, but it also grows well in bogs with high acidic soil. It is known as Eastern Arborvitae as well as White Cedar, and its evergreen foliage is a favorite food for deer during the winter. In the open and in cooler temperatures, Arborvitae will grow as tall as 30 feet and 10 feet wide. It is adaptable to poor soil and extremely dry or wet conditions, growing well in full sun with minimal care or attention.

  • Leaves – Tiny leaves are green scales that overlap like shingles and hide yellow and brown twigs, usually growing down to the base of the trunk. Outermost leaves lie flat in sprays.
  • Fruit/seed – Yellow miniature cones appear in the spring after flowering and eventually turn brown before releasing seeds. The cones remain throughout the winter.
  • Disease/pests – Bagworms are the biggest threat to Arborvitae, defoliating the tree and causing severe damage or death. The cocoons of bagworms should be removed or sprayed, as they can survive winter and the larvae can re-infest the tree.

American Crabapple

Also called the Wild Crabapple, it is a member of the Rose Family and is known for its stunning flowers in the spring, followed by small bitter apples that follow. While the fruit is not suitable for eating alone, it is used in jelly and jam. Fruit farmers also use the crabapple as a rootstock on which to graft other apple trees as a way to make them more adaptable. The crabapple will flourish all over Ohio provided soil is well drained. It is an ideal ornamental tree, growing to 25 to 30 feet tall.

  • Leaves – Alternating serrated leaves that appear after flowering and usually change from green to chartreuse in the fall with some bright yellows.
  • Fruit/seed – White to white-pink flowers are extremely fragrant in mid to late spring, with small bitter apples that become greenish-yellow at maturity.
  • Disease/pests – Prone to diseases and pests impacting all members of the Rose Family, although some varieties are disease resistant; leaf rust is a problem during wet springs when leaves cannot be kept dry.

Ohio Buckeye

This understory tree in the Horsechestnut Family grows more commonly in the western half of the state, but as the state tree of Ohio, it is found across the state. It is recognized for its buckeye nuts, which can be quarter-sized or larger, and are frequently carried in pockets as a good luck charm. The buckeye’s lightweight wood is valued for production of artificial limbs. They typically grow to 30 feet tall but may be much taller in open areas. Although adaptable, buckeye trees grow best in moist soil with partial shade.

  • Leaves – Palmately compound leaves have five leaflets that are green in spring and typically become scorched and brown by mid-summer; trees are generally bare of leaves by fall.
  • Fruit/seed – Flowers are yellow/green in the early spring; the golden-brown spiny husks that then develop singly or in clusters contain one seed that is so-named because it resembles the eye of a buck.
  • Disease/pests – Leaf blotch, leaf scorch and powdery mildew are common problems, which can be limited by planting in partial shade.

American Elm

These Elm Family members are found all over Ohio, although not in the quantities and at the heights of years ago. Also know as the White Elm for its cream-colored wood, this vase shaped tree once grew to 80-foot heights providing stately canopies along streets. Today most reach only 40 feet and die due to Dutch elm disease, which infects nearly all mature American Elms. They are generally adaptable to their environment, including full sun to shade, but prefer moist, rich soils.

  • Leaves – Serrated elliptical leaves are asymmetrical at their base and have prominent veins; green changes to chartreuse and yellow in the fall.
  • Fruit/seed – Buds form as early as January, with open flowers by mid-March; small oval samaras form and separate by mid-spring.
  • Disease/pests – Dutch elm disease, a pathogen carried by the elm bark beetle, infects nearly all elm trees before they are fully mature, slowly killing the tree by blocking its flow of water and nutrients. Young trees are immune, so isolation and annual spraying can help limit spread.