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@eucman Agreed, bark is often unreliable as an identification characteristic as you point out. Buds and scars are very useful, I need to learn more about these.
Another way to tell trees is by their silhouettes , I was fortunate to have several tree classes while going to college. A good book for identification is ( A FIELD GUIDE TO TREES AND SHRUBS by George A. PETRIDES ) I was lucky to have him as an instructor years ago.
 
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