Trees live hundreds to thousands of years, believe it or not. For a long time, it was believed that the only way to truly know a tree’s age was by counting its growth rings. Every year, a new ring is etched into the trunk, which is why most specimens have a noticeably vast spiral pattern. Contact Yellow Ribbon Tree Experts to tell you how old your trees are without counting the rings and decide whether they need to be removed.

Tree Age Equation

Determining tree age is important for various reasons, but chopping one down to see how old it is just doesn’t make sense. Fortunately, scientists have discovered new, far less intrusive ways to determine existing tree age to an accurate degree. By implementing a tried and true mathematical formula, foresters and researches alike no long need to resort to using chainsaws!

Not all trees grow at the same rate, which means that diameter alone is not a reliable source for age determination. Red oaks, for instance, grow at twice the rate of shagback hickories, meaning if the latter is 100 years old, it would be the same size as its 50-year old counterpart. Thanks to the staff at the International Society of Arboriculture, our Georgia tree specialists now have a rather simple calculation that can reduce the complexities of tree growth rates (factors like climate, soil fertility, the availability of an adequate water supply, light/shade exposure and root health) to a single, quantifiable figure.

The first step to analyzing tree growth is by measuring the diameter at about 4.5 feet above the ground as this is the ideal spot for width. This number should be then multiplied by the determined growth factor, data which can be pulled from accredited sources, and the resulting number is the approximate age. Keep in mind that since growth rates are not completely accurate in all cases, the age you come up with is more than likely going to be an estimate.

Given the factors that affect growth rate, it is not surprising that landscaped trees and those in public parks are treated differently than those in the wild, so they might not be as young as you might think.

Unless an arborist needs to know the age of a tree to the precise degree, the growth factor calculation will suffice in almost all cases. This value can and is adjusted when need be. Our Georgia arborists know the importance of gauging tree age, especially when certain specimens begin posing problems to nearby property.