Tree Identification in the Pacific Northwest

Resources for Learning Tree Identification in Oregon


Flashcard Learning Games:

Vocab – Basic

Vocab – All

Tree Types – with Common Family Names

Tree Types – Pacific Northwest – Native Trees

Tree Types – Pacific Northwest – Woody Shrubs


Recommended Books:

Trees to Know in Oregon by Ed Jensen for OSU Extension Catalog

Shrubs to Know in Pacific Northwest Forests by Ed Jensen for OSU Extension Catalog

Trees of North America: A Guide to Field ID by C. Frank Brockman for Golden Field Guide

ISBN-10: 1582380929

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate by Peter Wohlleben

The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring Reprint Edition by Richard Preston

The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors by David George Haskel


Recommended Websites:

How to ID Five [very] Common Northwest Trees

Oregon State University’s list of Common Trees of the Pacific Northwest

Oregon State University’s Dichotomous Key game for Common Trees of the Pacific Northwest

Dichotomous Key to Common Trees of the Pacific Northwest (printable)

Click to access Dichotomous-Key-to-Common-Trees-of-the-Pacific-Northwest.pdf

Trees of Oregon’s forests, Oregon Forest Resources Institute

Pacific Northwest Native Plants

Glass Watering Pot

I was looking for watering pots, but most are plastic, the few that are metal are expensive and will probably rust. I was using a canning jar for a while, when I realized that we had an extra glass pitcher! Eureka! It was one we’d picked up at goodwill for three dollars one day, and easy as breathing now it’s my new watering pot!!

My Garden Kitties!!

Backyard Fire Pit

My hubby has always wanted a fire pit area in the backyard of ANY place we’ve lived, and he finally managed it here. He started by bricking in a small square to set a fire bowl on. While he worked I handed him stuff and took pictures of his progress…

Step by Step
1. Dig Hole the right size for bricks.
2. Put down a layer of gravel, then a layer of sand.
3. Place all the bricks.
4. Pour sand over the bricks to fill in the holes.
5. Place a fire bowl on top of the bricks, chairs around it, and enjoy a s’more!

Unexpected things to Compost!

I found this AWESOME list on pintrest!! I had no idea we could compost so many things around the house, so I copied and pasted the list into a new Word Doc, deleted the things that don’t apply to us, made the font a little larger, and put it in two columns to get it on one sheet of paper. I’ve since posted it on the side of the fridge as a reminder and resource of what we are able to compost.

Download the PDF of the one I made: Compost Fridge List
or make your own from the original list here:

2014 Garden – Day 5: Vermiculture

I happened to see worm farm PVC tubes on some website that I was browsing, and it stayed in the back of mind for a while before I really researched how to do it. Turns out, it’s simple!

I bought a couple three inch wide PVC pipes, they were precut to two foot long.
We drilled lots of holes in the bottom half of the pipes, then buried them about a foot in the ground.
I bought $1 plates from goodwill to put on top of them, and done! The little bird statue is from the dollar store.
We’ve already started tossing in the smaller compost scraps for the worms, and I like the ease of knowing that we are feeding garden worms without having to maintain a worm farm bin.

This is an great visual video of how this type of composting works around plants:

2014 Garden – Day 4: Tire Pots

I saw this photo on Pintrest, and not realizing that was a tire got very attached to making one. I only hesitated slightly when discovering that it was a tire, figuring that it could not be too hard to make. I researched thoroughly how to cut and how to turn the tire, using mostly google search, pintrest, and youtube.

I even went so far as to buy the supplies, and bike with my trailer to get a couple tires. But when we tried cleaning them we could not get them clean enough that any of us wanted a touch them enough to turn them inside out. So sadly, this was a bust.

Here is what I learned, in case you feel more inclined to attempt this :)

Shopping List:
Box cutter $2, or roofing hook $20
Cheap scrubber
Outdoor primer paint
Outdoor paint or outdoor spray paint
A free tire from auto shop

Some tips I picked up from watching at least an hour of YouTube videos on the subject:
-Use a hooked roofing tool for fast slicing through the tire part.
-This will take at least two strong adults to accomplish easily.
-Remember to make holes in the bottom for proper drainage.
-Use a base coat of primer paint before painting on your colored paint.

Helpful Videos:

Tire Flower Planter

Turning a Tire – Quickest Way

Awesome pots, LOVE the copper colored paint

2014 Garden – Day 3: Small Garden Archways

I saw this photo on Pintrest, and thought how great that would be for another children’s garden hideaway, a little lower and it would be a tunnel!

Shopping List:
Garden fence roll, ($24 at home depot)
Wire cutters (for garden fence) ($9 at home depot)
12 four foot high rebar ($3 each at home depot)

Push rebar where you want it, (after soaking the ground, or a good rain).
Cut strips of the fence roll, and weave it into rebar.

All told it took three people an hour to construct, and at about $70 total this was the most expensive object in the garden, but soooo worth it!! I can’t wait to see cucumbers and squash climb all over the thing!

2014 Garden – Day 2: Burlap Grow Sacks

I looked for old burlap bags, but could not seem to find any locally, and the ones to order online were not cost effective for me. So, I bought the cheapest burlap at Joann’s, and used a 40% off coupon to make it nearly $2 a yard. Then:

1. Cut the yards into twenty inch pieces, so they are 20 inch by 48 inch
2. Sew up the side to form a tube.

You could stop there, however even though I wanted an open bottom ‘bag’, I also wanted the dirt to be able to hold the bag in place, so sewed only the bottom corners of the bag, about three inches in on each side.

Also, I like the rolled down look at the top of the bag, but was having a hard time keeping the top of new burlap rolled, so I tacked it down in all four ‘corners’ of the bag.

So, while crude but effective, this was the neat result!

2014 Garden – Day 1: Research

Last year our focal point in the garden was a bamboo tepee, and we planted right into the ground. Based on last year, we realized that we our backyard dirt is not the best for gardening and some kind of container gardening or raised beds would be required. I didn’t have much money to put into this, so I researched and fully considered every possible solution…

Planter Beds Options, from least to most sturdy:
(Click on option to see photo)

Cardboard Boxes

Burlap Sacks

Plastic Soil Sacks

Plastic Grow Bags

Plastic Pots

Tire Pots

Pallet Boxes

Cinder Blocks

Wooden Boxes

Small Archways

Large Archways

In the end I decided to go with:
Burlap Sacks with Small Archways and a couple Tires
Also with composting and garden vermiculture


Spring Flowers!

Our front yard rhododendron and our very first blackberry bloom!!


Spring is finally really here!! This weekend the huge cherry tree finished blooming and we did a little pre-gardening, and some weeding around the blackberries!


We did our first gardening of the year! With a couple starters, and some summer bulbs we are off to a great start!

We were helped a bit by our new kitty, who is very much enjoying his first spring ever!!

Last bits from the Garden

The girls finally dug up some of their carrots this weekend, and they had a blast doing it! Also, the carrots are quite tasty!!


I’ve been wanting to start composting since the moment we moved into the house last spring, however I don’t have great skill with building things, and we didn’t really have money for the wood anyway. I happened to see a compost bin made of pallets in the Mother Earth News magazine a couple months ago, and filed away the info for a later day, and that day finally arrived!

I daily check the free section of craigslist, and sometimes I see free wooden pallets, and email about them, but I’m always too late. So anyway, Sunday morning we groggily stumbled out of bed, turned on a heater, and began poking around in the kitchen for breakfast. I turned on the power strips in the front room, and turned on the computer… …checked my email… then checked the free section… and… FREE PALLETS!! A whole stack of them! Posted late the previous night, so there was a good chance they were still available, and with an address so I didn’t have to try to contact anyone! I quickly google mapped the address… and… they were only several blocks away!!!!!! Too good to be true! I raced around the house gathering people, shoes, jackets, hurriedly explaining my plan. All Sunday morning sleepiness gone, we shot out the door at a half run, pulling our garden cart, and hoping for the best!

The best happened! The whole stack was still there! We got the pick of the best ones, and dragged them home eight blocks to build this fabulous compost structure!!

I’ve read the compost section in several books over the last year as I’ve been starting to garden. Apprently none of it really stuck in my mind though, so I’ve been following this easy guide for layering the compost: WikiHow – How to Compost