How to Tell the Age of a Tree

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How to Tell the Age of a Tree

Did you know that the White Mountains of California are home to a 5,000-year-old Great Bristlecone pine? It’s one of the oldest trees in the world.

Knowing the age of a tree can be important, especially if it is old, but finding the age can be hard without cutting it down to count the rings. This is helpful if you are trying to figure out the health of a tree as well.

You wouldn’t want a tree to get so bad off that the branches or the whole tree falls on your house.

If you want to learn how to tell the age of a tree without having to cut it down, continue reading!

How to Calculate the Age of a Tree

There are many ways to calculate the age of trees. One of the most commonly known ways is counting growth rings when it is cut down.

You don’t want to cut every tree down to find its age. There is no sense in cutting down a healthy tree. However, there are other ways to tell what the age is by measuring the trunk of the tree.

If you have a tree that is leaning, you can get it cut down to find out the age by the trunk that way. An arborist would be able to help you find the age of a tree after it is cut down.

To get the right age when measuring you will need to find out what type of tree it is. Different trees have different growth rates. 

Methods of Calculating 

There is a formula that you can use to determine the age when measuring the trunk. 

That formula is:

  1. Measuring the trunk of the tree at 4.5 feet off the ground
  2. Divide it by Pi ~ 3.14
  3. Convert to inches, then multiply it with the growth factor of the tree

Another method is if it is a part of the pine tree family, you can then count the rows of branches. With pines, you would estimate the year to be between two to four years to accommodate the time spent as a seedling.

What Tool Can Be Used to Calculate the Age of a Tree?

There is a tool called an incremental borer that extracts a sample of the core. With core boring, it can make getting the age easier and tell the health of the core. 

Depending on the circumference of the tree will depend on what size incremental borer you would need. There are only two options when it comes to the borer, and they are a two-thread and a three-thread borer.

The two-thread will go deeper than the three-thread one.

Age of a Tree: This Is What Professionals Do

If you don’t want to go through the trouble of finding out the age of a tree, you can contact an arborist to help. Especially if the tree is already leaning toward your house or power poles.

There is also a chance of your tree needing to be trimmed up some as well, so go ahead and contact us for a free written estimate.