Do two trees ever appear identical? No, but why? Every small difference is a clue.
Applying the same wildlife detective skills that he is known for from his the international bestsellers The Walker's Guide and How to Read Water, Tristan Gooley knows how to uncover the phenomena worth looking for. He has been instructing people in the art of closely observing and examining trees for two decades and this book includes signs that will not be found in any other book in the world. By carefully observing clues hiding in plain sight, you can tell a lot about the life story of a tree: 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.
Every difference reveals the life story of this particular tree – if we stop to look closely. The clues are easy to spot when you know what to look for, but remain invisible to most people. In How to Read a Tree, you'll learn rare skills that can be applied every time you pass a tree, whether you are in a town or a wilder spot. Once you have learned to see these things it is impossible to unsee them and you will never look at a tree the same way again.
Tristan Gooley is an award-winning and international bestselling author. Through his journeys, teaching and writing, he has pioneered a renaissance in the rare art of natural navigation. Tristan is the only living person to have both flown solo and sailed singlehanded across the Atlantic. He has explored close to home and walked with and studied the methods of tribal peoples in some of the remotest regions on Earth.
"Tristan Gooley has done trees the greatest service. In this gentle, enchanting book he leads us into their language – how to spot their natural tendencies and individual foibles, recognise their responses to stress and ingenious strategies to survive. And with these insights he arouses an even deeper affection and concern for trees – our friends and allies, with whose fate our own is inextricably bound."
– Isabella Tree
"You will never look at a tree in the same way again after reading this mesmerising book. Gooley drops learning as lightly as blossom falls in spring."
– John Lewis-Stempel