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Utah’s Fantastic Forests. Every summer people look forward to family campouts in the forests. The drive up the canyon is beautiful and cool . Trees seem to whiz by. Animals are seen off in the distance. The shady slope of the mountain that faces north is covered with aspen trees.

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Trees seem to whiz by. Animals are seen off in the distance. The shady slope of the mountain that faces north is covered with aspen trees.

Aspen trees are deciduous. When the leaves get colder the leaves turn a brilliant color of yellow before falling to the ground.
Most of Utah’s trees are coniferous. The needles of the coniferous trees use less water than the broader leaves of the deciduous.
The scrub-oak tree, a deciduous tree, is also found on the drier south slope. Scrub-oaks do not get very tall.
deciduous tree characteristics
Deciduous Tree Characteristics

*broad leaves that fall in autumn

  • needs more water than conifers
  • *has a round or dome shape
  • *have no leaves in the winter
  • *make new buds in the fall

Deciduous trees have green leaves. They lose their leaves every autumn and grow them back each spring. Deciduous trees have flowers that are also pollinated by the wind or insects and produce seeds inside a fruit. The fruits falls or is eaten and distributed by an animal. Deciduous tree flowers can look like standard flowers or they can be very different like a catkin as on most forest trees.

Deciduous trees make a variety of fruits (with the seeds inside) i.e. apple trees-apples, maple trees-samaras, oak trees - acorns, birch trees make cone-like fruit called strobile, cottonwood trees make seeds on fuzzy parachutes.


Activity: Make a tree identification chart.

1. Collect samples from the different trees. If you can collect a flower, seed or fruit (cone in conifer) that is even better. Keep each sample separate.

If you want to include the students in the collection process, that is beneficial to them. It helps to see the whole tree and what it looks like. Because this is a small sampling of trees for this activity, collect or locate these trees ahead of time to make the activity successful.

If you collect the samples for them, afterward it helps to have them try and identify these trees in their neighborhood or schoolyard.

For all conifers, use the Conifer Key.

For deciduous trees, use the Deciduous Tree Guide.