How To Read a Tree

Alpine Books

9781615199433

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“Reams of appealing facts make one itch to get outside and right up close to trees’ rough surfaces and shady cover.”—The Atlantic

New York Times–bestselling author Tristan Gooley opens our eyes to the secret language of trees—and the natural wonders they reveal all around us


Trees are keen to tell us so much. They’ll tell us about the land, the water, the people, the animals, the weather, and time. And they will tell us about their lives, the good bits and bad. Trees tell a story, but only to those who know how to read it.

In How to Read a Tree, Gooley uncovers the clues hiding in plain sight: in a tree’s branches and leaves; its bark, buds, and flowers; even its stump. Leaves with a pale, central streak mean that water is nearby. Young, low-growing branches show that a tree is struggling. And reddish or purple bark signals new growth.

Like snowflakes, no two trees are exactly the same. Every difference reveals the epic story this tree has lived—if we stop to look closely.