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How to calculate the age of a tree: instructions for estimate the age of a tree still alive or, more simply, counting the trunk rings main.
The only means you have forestimate the age of a treestill alive consists in observing the barrel circumference and apply a simple mathematical rule. When the tree is dead, you cancalculate his ageobserving the characteristic "circles" that form inside the main trunk. On this page we will seehow to calculate the age of a treeusing both methodologies.
The growth rings of trees
Is calleddendrochronologyand it is a dating system used to calculate theageof a tree by exploiting the so-calledgrowth rings.
How wood rings are formed
Trees grow both in height and in width. For growth horizontally a "ring enlargement" was observed. How are tree rings formed?
Every year, with the arrival of summer, the vegetative activity of all plants increases, thus producing new cells in the layer immediately below that of the bark. Growth is intense in the spring and slows down in summer until it stops completely in late autumn. Growth stops and the new ring is formed.
Over time, year after year, thewood rings, one for each year of the tree's life.
Forcalculate the age of a treeall you have to do is count the number of rings in the main trunk. The observation should be made when the trunk has just been cut: you will notice how the color of these rings is not always uniform as well as the thickness of each ring. The light color is due to the spring cells which are larger and more porous, while the darker colors that are interspersed between one ring and the other are due to narrower and smaller cells, formed in the summer-autumn period.
With rainy and very bright years, with optimal soil fertility conditions, there will be thicker rings, while when the climatic trend is unfavorable to the growth of the tree, the ring will have a less generous formation.
How to estimate the age of a tree based on the circumference of the trunk
The second system is certainly more inaccurate but allows you tocalculate the age of a treestill alive! It is an imprecise method because each tree can grow differently: certainly a tree that thrives in an area where its ideal growth conditions are present, for the same amount of time elapsed, will end up with a much longer trunk. large than an identical tree but grown in a more critical area.
Themathematical calculationforestimate the age of a treeit's very simple, all you have to do is equip yourself with a meter and calculator. What do you need?
For thecalculation of the age of a treeyou will need:
- a flexible meter capable of measuring the circumference of the tree trunk of your interest (seamstress meter)
- a calculator (you have to do a simple division)
Measure the circumference with a measuring tape. Write down the measurement and divide this value by 2.5. The result you will get should represent the years of life of the plant. As stated, the estimate is very indicative, there are different growth times for each species and the same species can have different growth if placed in different growth conditions! In any case, with this calculation you will have an approximate estimate of the tree's real age.
How to estimate the age of a bonsai
Neither the mathematical calculation, nor the rule ofwood rings, can be useful for estimating the age of particular trees such as ibonsai. As for thewood rings, with observations made at particular enlargements, it is possible to define theage of bonsaibut also in this case the main trunk should be cut. For abonsaistill alive, it is particularly difficult to estimate their age. In any case, when it comes tobonsai, it is not the age of the plant that matters but the amount of time devoted to its growth.
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