When most people hear the word fruit tree, they automatically think of apple or orange trees. However, fruit trees are a large classification of tree that can include everything from evergreen coffee trees to ornamental pear trees with barely noticeable fruit. Identifying fruit trees is a similar process to identifying other types of trees.
Examine the tree carefully. Take note of the tree's characteristics, including the shape of the leaves, the appearance of the bark and the overall shape of the tree. If the tree is bearing fruit or covered in flowers, this is a good indication that it's a fruit tree.
Consult a tree classification guide book. Many of these books have photos of the trees and list detailed descriptions of their characteristics. If your tree is close in appearance to one that is described in the book, it's probably in the same family of trees.
Call your local County Extension Service. The U.S. Department of Agriculture maintains offices staffed with extension agents in each county throughout the United States. These agents are knowledgeable about trees native to the region they are stationed in, and may be able to identify your tree.