Do you know how to find out how old a tree is? Can you tell if one tree is older than another tree, just by looking at it?
Older trees tend to be taller with a wider trunk.
How to find out the age of a tree.
Try one of these easy methods to find out how old a tree is.
Count the rings
One common way to find the age of a tree is to count the annual rings.
We found a tree which had been cut down and looked at the rings inside. Every year the tree grows a new layer of wood below the bark, which makes the trunk grow wider. The rings vary in size, depending on the growth that has occurred. Tree growth is affected by the availability of nutrients, water and other factors.
Measure the circumference
Another way to estimate the age of a tree is to measure its girth or circumference. You could do this by wrapping a rope around the trunk of the tree and then measuring the rope.
Generally, each 2.5cm represents one year of growth, although this differs depending on the species of tree.
Count the Whorls
Some tree species, such as pines, spruces and firs, grow a whorl of branches each year. Count the number of whorls or branches to find out the age of the tree!
More Tree Science for Kids
From ABC to Acts has another fun way of measuring a tree’s height using a pencil.
Try these easy ideas for science in the forest.
Find out why leaves change colour in autumn.
Make a pinecone weather station, using just pinecones!
Find out how tall a tree is without climbing it. This is great fun to do when you’re out on a walk. People will definitely wonder what you’re doing!
Do you have any more tree-themed science activities we could try? What have I missed?
Last Updated on August 7, 2023 by Emma Vanstone