How to Determine the Age of a Tree?
How often have you seen a big tree and wondered how old it was? What has it lived through? People must have been guessing the age of trees for a long time, right? We learned you can count the the rings of a cross section, trunk to trunk across the middle, however that calls for the tree to be cut down. Since we know the coloration in the rings across the trunk indicate a season, we can also take a measurement of the tree’s life by coring a small hole through to the center and counting the color variations between dark and light rings. With a little work from an increment borer, you can generate a cool symbol of the age of the tree without cutting the tree down.
Following are several sources which describe and demonstrate how to age a tree without cutting it down.
Estimating age by measuring the trunk.
Wrap a fabric measuring tape around the trunk about 4 ½ ft from the ground then divide that number by 3.14 to get the diameter. We can count the radius with the help of the diameter dividing it by 2.
Divide the radius by the average ring width (which you can google or measure by nearby fallen tree) and by doing so we got the age of the tree.
If this looks too complicated, here is a YouTube video that might help:
Counting branch whorls:
We call whorls those rows of branches that grow from the trunk at about the same height. This method isn’t as accurate and can’t be done on all types of trees but it is a lot better than cutting down a tree.
Counting the rings on a stump:
When you have a tree that is already cut down or find one in the forest and you would like to know how old it was count the rings on the stamp. You’ll see that there are darker and lighter rings coming after each other by counting the dark ones you can get and the fairly accurate age of the tree.
Counting rings on a core sample:
By using an increment borer, you can drill a little hole on the trunk and take out a core sample. You will be able to count the dark curved lines on the sample and estimate the age of the tree.
We found an amazing article with drawn pictures of the methods for those of you that like to learn more visually.
My friends and I like to go out and measure trees around Central Florida. It is fascinating to think about what these trees lived through to learn about their circumstances during their lifetime.
Also let me share the top 5 biggest trees on Earth for your viewing pleasure:
Did you ever measure a tree or was interested in how to do so? Please send us your experiences of measuring a tree(s).