Skip to Content

37 of the Best Ways to Describe Trees Vividly to Capture Your Readers

37 of the Best Ways to Describe Trees Vividly to Capture Your Readers

When writing about nature, you will probably need to use words to describe trees; to properly capture the scene or event. The easiest way to approach this is by using words to describe the appearance of the tree.

The appearance of trees depends on several factors including age, type of tree, season/time of year, shape, size, color and the feelings it evokes. You can also use words that focus on other senses like smell, touch, sound, and even taste.

In this post, we’ll be focusing primarily on what you can see. Combine them with other descriptive words as you see fit to capture the essence of the tree.


8 ways to describe trees that look strong and healthy

A tree that looks strong/healthy is sturdy and robust. Its trunk is thick and its branches are sturdy.
It has healthy leaves and is perhaps a safe haven or home for different species of animals. This tells us the tree has a long life ahead of it, and even that it’s able to withstand a lot of damage.
These trees are generally associated with positive feelings and events when writing. Here are some words to describe trees that look strong and healthy:

Use handsome to describe a tree that checks all the boxes of health, meaning it’s tall, has lush leaves, sturdy branches and strong bark. You’d see a handsome tree in a nature magazine or painting.
It’s picture perfect, and if it’s in someone’s yard, it’s likely well taken care of.
“The sweet perfume of the sturdy, handsome cherry blossom tree and its delicate but breathtaking ivory flowers made the perfect location for meditation.”


cherry blossom trees reflection
Photo by bantersnaps on unsplash


Grand is a good word for describing a tree with wide branches that have far horizontal reach, and plenty of leaves. It can mean the tree stands out from those around it because of its size, or because it’s different from those around it.
“Some say the first resident of Caneland was the grand oak tree in the square. Every October, the residents adorn its large, high branches with ornaments and celebrate another year of perfect health and good fortune for the community.”


Use lively to describe a tree that is in the center of most activities. It can be in the middle of a town square where people often gather, in the middle of a forest or near a water source where different species congregate.
It means that there’s rarely a time when the tree is lonely. You can also use the word lively to create contrast; for example, a tree where kids play all year round, but abandon during winter and summer breaks when school’s out.
“The unusually short mango tree with the thick trunk by the edge of the forest is usually lively this time of year, but things have changed since families began to move to the new city.”



Lush may be used to describe a healthy tree that has reached full bloom and is producing fruit. This is best used when it doesn’t bear often, like a lychee or apricot tree.
Lush can also describe the color of the leaves, as green represents health, while brown represents death and decay.
“It’s a shame they cut down the lush pear tree near the center of the courtyard to complete the renovations. I understand the thick branches and trunk make great lumber, but it isn’t fair that such a bountiful tree was killed.”


giant pear tree bloom during spring blue skies
Photo by schame on shutterstock


Shady may be used to describe a tree with a lot of foliage or leaves. This is suitable for blocking out the rays of the sun and creating shade that is much cooler than the areas outside of it.
“She was tired, so she decided to rest underneath the shady oak tree. Its full branches and large leaves created the perfect environment for restful slumber. It wasn’t long until her eyes became heavy, and she woke up to find her lunch the subject of great excitement among the resident ant colony.”


Prized is a good word for describing a tree that is a special species, or has something else that is special about it like its size, shape, color or thickness of the bark. A tree may also be described as prized if it is part of the area’s history.
“The tour guide stopped to show the group the prized ackee tree that has blossomed every year since the town was established. At this time of year, it still had fruit, and the tourists took the chance to mount its now frail branches.”


Use remarkable to describe the tree and everything that happens around it. It can mean a lot of creatures live in and around it, and there’s always something going on, whether it’s active with fauna and flora, or humans flock to it often to lay under or climb.
“It was a remarkable tree that defied human logic. It was as if it secretly lifted its cemented roots, shook its thorny branches and walked a few centimeters every night.”


woman embraces big tree redwood california

Photo by Sergey Novikov on shutterstock


Use the term towering to describe a tree that is taller than the others around it or towers above buildings. It means the tree is sturdy and dominant in its surroundings.
“He made it his mission to find the exact location of the towering pine tree. Up close, he expected to see the other trees bowing in honor of the monument, as its branches stood firm against the elements and its leaves were broad and embracing.”


8 ways to describe trees that look old and frail

When a tree looks old, the bark may be thin and cracked, and the branches may be brittle and weak. The leaves may be small and yellowed, and the roots may be shallow or fall off entirely.
This describes a tree that is not healthy and is coming toward the end of its lifetime. Note that in “tree-years” this doesn’t mean a year or two- it can mean a hundred years from now!
Here are some words to describe trees that look old:

Ancient may be used to describe a tree that is hundreds of years old, and it has outlived everything and everyone it has come across. It may also be used to describe trees that are irreplaceable since trees of that species don’t tend to survive for so long.
“We flew over the ancient, reverent trees in the valley of “No Man’s Land”, feeling grateful that humans haven’t had the chance to sink their claws in and spread their destructive venom. They weren’t entirely helpless though, and it was rumored that at night, its spiny branches sway in the wind, warding off any who dare to approach it.”


old southern live oak quercus virginiana big branches

Photo by Nagel Photography on shutterstock


Use dead to describe a tree that has reached the end of its life, meaning it no longer produces leaves, has flaking bark and is no longer productive.
“Once a haven for plants and animals, the trees that survived appeared to mourn the loss of their companions, sagging and hunched over, no longer brawny and confident like soldiers standing at attention. The scientist concluded that the cause of the dead trees, which were with hollowed bark and wasted branches, was a fungus that spread throughout the orchard.”


Drooping describes a tree that is no longer erect due to age or lack of nutrients and sunshine. Trees sometimes bend towards light, nutrients and water.
Drooping also occurs if the tree is carrying a heavy burden or load, and sometimes do so due to snow or heavy fruit yields.
“Every other yard on the street had productive lawns, fertile trees and white picket fences. The Campbell yard was different. In the front yard stood a drooping tree hanging on to dear life and a massacred stump, clear evidence that something evil was lurking in that house.”


dry dead tree on slope concept black and white photo

Photo by Elza_R on shutterstock


Use experienced to describe a tree that has been a part of a community for a long time and has watched residents come and go, come into and leave this world, and has withstood development and modernization.
“My grandmother spoke of the experienced tree in the forest with leaves as big as my head and flowers that perfumed the area, where all the kids would go to hang out and drink beer, catch up with their friends and hide from the adults.”


Hollow describes a tree with weakened bark due to natural causes, or a wound created by human activities such as logging or removing branches. One can look straight through a hollow tree, or find that it is not difficult to cut down or fall because it is no longer structurally sound.
“The hollow tree in the backyard was the perfect place to stash the money until things blew over. No one pays much attention to depressing trees anyway, and the prickly branches were just as effective as a guard dog at keeping people away.”


hollow tree park covered green moss

Photo by DeymosHR on shutterstock


Lonely may be used when the old tree has outlived the rest of the vegetation around it and stands as a testament to a landscape that once was. Lonely may also be used to describe an old tree that no one goes to anymore because it is unsightly.
“After the meltdown at the nuclear plant, the city was abandoned and the trees stood lonely with barely enough strength to keep upright, awaiting a certain and painful death as their leaves withered and the branches let out a final hoorah.”


country field lonely oak tree without any other trees on side

Photo by Alex Stemmers on shutterstock


Sacred may be used to describe an old tree that has historical or religious significance. It can mean that people are reverent towards it, and there is some level of protection against those who would wish to harm it.
“Mui-Mui was a sacred tree to the native people, providing fresh fruit in times of hardship, something the settlers envied. The chief knew it would only be a matter of time before they would set their sights on the massive branches and trunk, and cut them down to build more homes, and further offend Mother Nature. They would defend it to their last man from the foreign invaders.”


leaves branches giant bodhi tree

Photo by Kridsada Krongmuang on shutterstock


Use time-chiseled to describe a tree that has been worn away by the elements, and not human intervention. It says that the tree is old and is coming to the end of its natural lifetime.
“A thousand years had passed and the time-chiseled tree, with its leafless, geriatric branches was the only sign that the land was once occupied by other plants and animals.”


How to describe trees that lose leaves during fall

Most trees shed their leaves during fall (autumn) to prepare for the winter season. The purpose of this is to conserve energy that is used to sustain green leaves and fruit as rainfall decreases, overall sunshine decreases and the days get shorter.
During this time, leaves turn from green to shades of red, yellow, orange, purple and brown as chlorophyll production decreases (chlorophyll is responsible for giving leaves a green pigment).
In writing, fall scenes tend to represent melancholy, acceptance, tiredness, mystery, and taking stock of all that’s happened and is to come. These are some words to describe trees during fall as they lose leaves:

When most people think of balding, they think of hair, but you can easily compare this to a tree that is not yet bare and is still losing its leaves.
“The short, balding sourwood tree with the bold, fire-red leaves created a thick blanket at its base. It was only a matter of time before the kids returned to school, and the gardener recommended we cordon it off to avoid it becoming the newest play area.”


autumn time park brown colored leaves

Photo by Anthony Elizabeth James on shutterstock


This is a scientific term used specifically for trees that shed their leaves in anticipation of dry months, and unforgettable weather. These trees do so annually and manage to survive even the harshest conditions.
“The thick bark of the rounded deciduous trees serves as an increasingly important water source for animals in the African savannah.”


Fall marks the changing of seasons from lively and festive in the summer to cold and desolate in the winter. It can also be used in a literary sense to emphasize the changes a character is going through or the fear of an unknown future.
“As the once militant and fruitful trees entered a changing state with the passing season, so too did Ella shed her fear of judgment like leaves separating from the tree.”



Use earthy to emphasize that this is a natural process and that it is a part of the cycle of life and death. You may also use earthy to describe the brown color of dead leaves.
“The earthy tones of the fall forest trees and their stocky stature remind me of the brown clothes my stumpy aunt wore every day to her job as a housekeeper.”


lined fruit trees orchard dead leaves
Photo by Photo-Graphia on shutterstock


Flaky may be used to describe the manner in which the leaves fall from the tree. It may also be used to describe the crunch sounds the leaves make as a character walks over them.
“As the tears rolled down her cheeks, so too did the final flaky leaf from the broken tree fall to the ground; a sign nature grieved with her.”


last leaf fall before winter

Photo by Chandra Ramsurrun on shutterstock


During fall, leaves tend to turn to shades of red, amber, yellow, orange and so on. Use red when describing a positive scene, perhaps where the leaves are swept into a pile, and the ground is not yet icy and cold.
“The world was still colorful and alive, or at least it was for young Midas who enjoyed swinging from the hulking branches, trusting their strength, believing they would never fail him as his father often did. His favorite part was looking up at the different colors of the tree and stomping the red-toned leaves that lay at its feet, something he could no longer do once school started.”


autumn trees park

Photo by Olga Miltsova on shutterstock


Think of a skeleton, and how it lacks all the muscles, fat, veins, capillaries, organs and everything else that makes up a human body. Now, compare that with a tree that has lost all its leaves and its character.
“It was the end of fall, and the trees stood skeleton-bare, even the ones with hefty trunks and once flower-filled branches. Their only option was to wait patiently for Mother Nature to replenish the earth.”


bare tree branches winter courtyard

Photo by photointruder on shutterstock


How to paint a picture for the trees that go into dormancy over winter

During winter, trees enter a sort of dormant state. They aren’t producing new leaves and are instead conserving the energy they need to bloom in spring when conditions are more favorable.
These types of trees are often used to emphasize negative and eerie feelings. They also help to mark the change in season and can refer to temperature, sunshine, precipitation, etc.
Winter represents isolation, death, letting go, old age, pain and rest.
Here are some words to describe trees and their behavior during winter dormancy:

Forgotten is best used during winter when most animals migrate or hibernate, and humans are inside away from the cold. It means that an otherwise festive tree is left alone until conditions are more favorable.
“It was her first year as a fully grown tree, so she didn’t expect to be forgotten so soon. “Perhaps the festivities will return with the sun”, she hoped, and her crooked branches would continue to stretch farther and farther until they couldn’t ignore her anymore.”


Use gracious as a personification to describe a once bountiful tree that has made the necessary sacrifice of shedding its leaves so that it may survive the winter season. It says the tree has bowed out until its time to shine.
“The pear tree waited graciously for winter to pass, and spring to bring back its little furry friends, who enjoyed nesting in its hollow crevices and called its elaborate root system home.”


solitary dormant tree accents farmland scenery

Photo by Livia Gaffield on shutterstock


Animals like bears and squirrels store their food and hibernate in places that include the root structure of trees or large hollow sections where they can make nests. Use the word hibernating to refer to the tree’s dormant state, as well as the state of other animals and plants around it to create a calm, undisturbed atmosphere.
“We knew we weren’t supposed to be here as the forest was hibernating and the trees were at their most vulnerable, but we just had to get a few samples before it was too late. The roots were thick and hard to cut through, but it was clear they were fighting for their lives. We worked carefully so as not to disturb the already fragile branches, but alas, the rookie decided they could support his body weight, learning a horrible lesson in return.”


Relaxed, when used to describe a tree, means it looks almost peaceful in its state. It’s perfect for winter scenes where trees are barren, but they aren’t meant to imply that there’s anything untoward or scary happening.
“The trees looked relaxed, almost as if they were counting down the days, excited to bloom elegant ruby flowers once more.”


hoarfrost berkshire uk white trees

Photo by Christopher D. Allsop on shutterstock


Seasonal means that the tree is subject to seasons like the rest of us, so during spring/summer it thrives, but during winter it rests.
“The trees were seasonal, and only bothered to wake when there was something worth the trouble, like the long-awaited sunshine to melt the frozen ground. In a few weeks, pandiculation would begin, and the shriveled branches would outstretch their arms to welcome their furry friends once more.”


grape vine arbor over chain link

Photo by Mary Prentice on shutterstock


Use scary when you want to create an eerie atmosphere. It can refer to the lack of leaves, pointy branches, and an overall lack of life and activity which can be unsettling.
“It was as if the tree was staring at me, daring me to enter the cabin that sat beneath its cold, scary limbs. Was this a trap, and would it grab me before I had a chance to get in from the harsh cold? There was only one way to find out. Knowing my pocket knife was no match for its thick arms, I held my breath and made a mad dash, not knowing its entangling roots could grab my legs and drag me to my demise.”


During winter, trees do not produce because they lack the energy they get from the sun, and the ground is too hard for nutrients to penetrate. Therefore, their growth may appear stunted, and the trees will enter a dormant state.
“Nothing grew during the bitter 7-year winter, and the trees stood stunted, clinging onto life, producing nary a juicy fruit nor fragrant flower, barely surviving until the next day, and the next.”



How to describe trees that grow new leaves in spring

As spring approaches, trees begin to grow new leaves because the weather is more conducive to growth. Spring represents feelings of renewal, rebirth, hope, fertility, new possibilities, balance and freshness.
It is also a time for change, and represents youthfulness and happiness. Here are some words to describe trees during spring:

An able tree has the ability to blossom, but that doesn’t always mean it does so. This largely has to do with its bearing patterns, which may be once every two years, or even less frequent!
Use this when everything around the tree is bearing fruit, and even though it doesn’t, it still appears healthy.
“Trees show us that we are indeed able, that we bloom in our own time and we shouldn’t let the victories of others dismay us. Before we know it, the branches spread like the wings of eagles and are filled with as many fruits as there are grains of sand on the beach.”


Budding may be used to describe trees at the very beginning of spring when buds have begun to form, but they are quite far from reaching maturity. It says the tree survived the winter and is a sign of productivity, renewal and happiness for the environment as well as the character(s).
“She screamed at the budding cherry tree outside her window, wondering why everything in the world was able to survive winter except the innocent child she carried in her womb. She could no longer accept the miracle of new life, the blessing that was the blossoms nor the gnarled union between the soil and the roots.”


happy smiling woman cheerfully spreads legs
Photo by Soloviova Liudmyla on shutterstock


Enchanting describes something magical, awe-inspiring, or simply beautiful. All these words may be used to describe what happens to a tree in spring, as it can seem like one day the tree is bare, and the next it suddenly has new leaves, just like magic.
“The scarce but enchanting trees in the grove would be the perfect backdrop for a spring wedding. I can picture it now, regulated sunshine from the perfectly-positioned leaves, sweet blossoms lingering in the air, hidden roots giving way for guest seating. You’ll love it.”


groom bride on green glade

Photo by sergio34 on shutterstock


Flowering occurs during mid-spring after the buds have emerged. This is where flowers begin to form and is the final stage before ripening. This is best applied where events are being compared to the life cycle of trees and helps to allude to various changes in the plot or character development.
“He learned to appreciate nature, watching the flowering trees overcome the bitter winter, infant leaves rejoining the bliss and blossoming and tree trunks breathing a sigh of relief from winter’s encapsulation.”


Leafy may simply be used to say the tree has leaves on it, in comparison to bare or empty as it was during winter or fall. Use this during the height of spring when all the trees and flowers have awoken.
“If there’s anything spring trees can teach us, it’s that one day things will be green and leafy, and when they’re not, we should still have hope because as the sun rises, the bursting buds and glorious flowers will return.”


new leaves other trees park sunshine sunlight

Photo by LeManna on shutterstock


Use paradise-green to describe lush, green leaves that have sprouted towards the end of spring when everything is at its most productive, and summer is approaching. Here, the weather is fair and conducive to growth, and the environment should be lively.
“I looked up into the colossal tree and saw the paradise-green leaves staring at me, beckoning me to smile, and suddenly everything wrong became alright.”


Plentiful may be used to describe a tree that has an abundance of ripe fruit ready to be picked. It refers to the health of the tree as well as its productivity and height.
“God gives us everything we need from the great, plentiful fruit-laden trees to the freshwater springs filled with fish and prawns.”



Trees are more than just background props to sprinkle in your creative writing. They can be used to describe emotion in the atmosphere and contribute to creating vivid imagery for your readers.
Use these words to describe trees to not only improve your writing but increase your creativity. Once you can picture it, you should be able to write it!