Identifying a dormant leafless winter tree is not nearly as complicated as it might seem at first glance. Dormant tree identification will demand some dedication to apply the necessary practice to improve the skill of identifying trees without leaves. But if you follow my instructions and use your powers of observation you will find a pleasurable and beneficial way to enhance your skills as a naturalist - even in the dead of winter.
Most tree twig keys start with the arrangement of leaf, limb and buds. It is the primary first separation of the most common tree species. Knowing a tree is either opposite or alternate in leaf and twig rank can immediately make you job easier. Learn more about twig ranking and tree identification.
Opposite Ash, Alternate Sycamore - Photo Steve Nix, licensed to About.com