Recently released Tree ID app can help homeowners, gardeners
Just what is that strange shrub planted next to your new house? Or what are those trees in the park that are setting off your allergies? A new smartphone app for the Android operating system can help provide some answers. The Virginia Tech Tree ID app combines extensive online forestry fact sheets and photos with a smartphone’s portability and global positioning technology. Users can search for an identifying match or upload a photo and ask a Virginia Tech forestry expert for help.
It’s not uncommon for homeowners to want to identify trees on their property, said Dr. John Seiler, professor of forestry at Virginia Tech, who helped create the app.
“Several people have written comments at the app store about how it is helping them identify the right trees to cut for firewood,” Seiler said. “That’s a good example of how useful it is.” Within Virginia Cooperative Extension, volunteer Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists also use it frequently, he said.
Virginia Tech already has one of the nation’s largest forestry databases online; it includes descriptions of nearly 1,000 woody plants and more than 6,400 images of leaves, bark, flowers, fruit, twigs and other plant features.
The Tree ID app was the most-downloaded tree identification app from Google Play only three months after its release last fall, with more than 13,000 downloads and a rating of four-and-a-half out of a possible five stars. An iPhone version is in development.