Legacy of trees

Legacy of trees

In 1950, the Oregon State University Extension Service published a small field guide to the state's trees. Sixty years later, "Trees to Know in Oregon" is still one of OSU's most-requested publications, and an updated edition is now available.

Edward C. Jensen, an OSU forestry professor, is the primary writer and photographer of the new version, which includes 152 pages of identification, information, maps and color photographs.

The first edition was penned by former OSU Extension forester Charles R. Ross and dedicated to "the boys and girls of Oregon."

Compared with the last edition, released in 2005, the new version includes more than 70 new, color photographs of trees. It also has an updated list of noteworthy Oregon trees commemorated in the American Forestry Association's National Register of Big Trees, including a 242-foot tall Port Orford cedar in Coos County, a 136-foot quaking aspen in Union County and a 112-foot black walnut in Multnomah County.

The book also contains information about the different types of Oregon forests, identification keys and a section on common ornamental trees.

Jensen said that as changes to the guide have been made over the years, he checked in with educators to make sure the book still met their expectations. But the soft-cover book isn't just for kids and students.

"It's for anybody interested in native trees," said Jensen. "It's simple to use, and it's specific to the set of trees we have here in the Pacific Northwest."

At book fairs and events, Jensen is reminded that the book's impact has spanned generations. "People come up and say, 'Gosh, I learned everything I know about trees from this book, and I'm so glad to see that it continues,' " said Jensen. "That makes you feel good, like you're a part of a long legacy."

A companion book, "Shrubs to Know in the Pacific Northwest," is in the works and expected to be available later this year.

"Trees to Know in Oregon" costs $18, plus shipping and handling, and may be ordered online at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/abstract.php?seriesno=EC+1450 or by calling 1-800-561-6719.

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