Have you ever thought about the age of that enormous tree in your yard? If you are unsure when your tree was planted, calculate the circumference to approximate its age. While not as precise, measurement estimate is the most straightforward technique to find the age of a tree without cutting. If it’s an evergreen, you can calculate its rows of branches or whorls.
Broadleaf trees develop whorls sporadically so counting them is only applied for evergreens. Counting the rings give the correct estimate, but you don’t want to chop down a healthy tree to establish its age.
As an alternative, count the rings on a living tree, taking a core sample with an increment borer.
Measure the Trunk
Calculate the circumference of the tree at breast height. The average breast height is 4 1⁄2 ft. from the ground. Put a fabric measuring tape around the trunk at this height and mark the tree’s circumference.
If the ground is slanted, measure 4 1⁄2 ft from the ground on the uphill side, note the place then perform the same on the downhill side. The breast height is typically the middle spot between the downhill and uphill measurements.
Find the trunk’s radius and diameter. To get the diameter, use pi or 3.14 to divide the circumference. Next, get the radius by using 2 to divide the diameter.
Subtract anywhere from 1⁄4 to 1 inch for the bark. For tree types with thick bark, subtract 1inch from the measure of the radius. Subtract 1⁄4 inch for trees with thin bark like the birch tree. If you aren’t sure and want to get a ballpark estimate, subtract a 1⁄2 inch from the radius.
Use felled trees to get the measurement of ring width. Look for felled or dead trees of the same type. If you see one with visible rings, count the rings and get the radius. Divide the radius by the number of rings to get the average ring width. If this might be a bit much for you or math has never been your thing, ask a tree specialist to get the age of your uncut tree for you.
Rochester Tree Service wants to help you care for the trees on your property. Trees are valuable resources and we want to provide interesting information to you!